Hyundai team principal Cyril Abiteboul has confirmed Craig Breen's death in a testing accident ahead of the Croatia Rally was 'instantaneous'.
Breen was preparing for this weekend's round of the World Rally Championship in his Hyundai i20 N Rally1 when he lost his life last Thursday.
“Craig was laid to rest yesterday and it’s been a very emotional time for all of us," said Abiteboul.
“Emotions are still raw and there has been an amazing outpouring of grief for Craig, who was an incredible person to know, as a team-mate, competitor and friend."
Detailing the tragic incident, Abiteboul confirmed: “Regarding the accident, we can say that Craig was participating in the pre-event test in Croatia.
“Road conditions were slippery and the car slid off the road at a relatively low speed and made contact with a wooden fence. A post from this fence intruded into the cabin through the driver’s side window.
“The stage was closed immediately and the on-stage medical team was rapidly on the scene.
“We must mention that (co-driver) James Fulton was unhurt in the crash and our hearts go out to him. We are doing everything we can to support James at this time.
“Craig was taken to hospital from the stage. As far as can be determined, Craig’s passing was instantaneous.
“Hyundai Motorsport and the FIA are working together to review all aspects of the incident. As far as can be ascertained, there was no issue with any element of the car, the tyres or the safety equipment. The local police completed a report at the scene.”
Hyundai to run Breen tribute
Hyundai will take part in the Croatia Rally despite the circumstances, with the team running two cars instead of its planned three.
In honour of their team-mate, Thierry Neuville and Esapekka Lappi will run a special livery derived from the Irish flag.
“We thought long and hard about how to do this and how best to honour Craig," added Abiteboul.
"To this end, we are contesting the event with two cars, both running with a special livery to honour Craig, his Irish roots and his beloved Irish rally community.
“Craig was a wonderful person and that is true of his family and friends. The rallying community has really pulled together and it’s a mark of the high regard with which Craig was held.
“There are a number of initiatives to honour Craig taking place over this weekend. As well as our special livery we have a book of condolence in our hospitality unit that everyone is invited to sign. This will be shared with the family."
READ MORE: Tributes pour in for Craig Breen after untimely death at 33