Craig Breen, a legendary car enthusiast (Group B, Group A, WRC)

Died on April 13, 2023 in a testing accident in Croatia, Craig Breen leaves behind a rich collection of cars driven in historic competitions. Proof of his passion for rallying.

Published on 13/04/2024 à 13:20

Medhi Casaurang

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Craig Breen, a legendary car enthusiast (Group B, Group A, WRC)

Craig Breen was marked by his father's Group B MG Metro 6R4 on Irish rallies. © Craig Breen

Craig Breen is best known for his career behind the wheel of cutting-edge machines in the WRC in the 2010s and 2020s. But the Irishman has also cultivated a deep passion for the history of his sport. By becoming a professional, Craig Breen had the chance to drive legendary cars, most often loaned by teams or owners sensitive to the love he felt for Group B and Group A.

ALSO READ > Craig Breen's career highlights

MG Metro 6R4 Group B

The small English car, even though it had a 6 horsepower V410, never won a rally world in Group B, but Craig Breen had chosen the MG Metro 6R4 as his favorite car. An attachment that dates back to early childhood, as he explained during the first confinement in 2020 on his Facebook page:

“As you all probably know I am completely obsessed with the MG Metro 6R4, the noise, the looks, everything about the 6R4 is just unreal.

I guess the only place to start is at the beginning, where did this obsession start? Quite simply with my father, who has a lot to be ashamed of… His hobby became my career and I was very lucky to have had this start. He's had a lot of rally cars over the years, but there's one that stands out above the rest. The multi-colored MG Metro 6R4!

I will never forget the day that car pulled into the yard. It had already been driven in its multicolored livery by the Danish Morten Anderson in Rallycross, then in rallying by Dick Bailey. It was an international production car, 2,5 liters, high compression, with a dog gearbox. At the age of 5, it was an otherworldly machine and after a quick spin on the road, barely able to see over the dashboard, I was completely hooked!

It arrived just in time for our local event, the Ravens Rock Rally, in 1995. The dog box was removed because it was too valuable, and the thought of breaking it would have meant stopping the rally for a while . A sync box was installed... It lasted two full steps before crying out for mercy. Further outings in 1995 were successful and she finished the year with a third place overall at Banna Beach before planning a full national championship appearance in 1996.

I was thrown into a service van and taken around the country while Dad struggled with what should have been an uncompetitive car against the Group A machines, which didn't stop him from upsetting the hierarchy at many occasions. One of the events that comes to mind most is the Stonethrowers Rally in 1996. Dad was really fired up and took the lead ahead of my lifelong hero, Frank Meagher, who was driving a Escort Cosworth.

A host of other great drivers of the era, Gabriel Snow, Frank O'Mahony and Charlie Donnelly were also behind that day, but two stages from the finish Dad broke the driveshaft. Those were the days when teams were racing between stages to help and my most vivid memory is of racing to join him on a section of road in a Ford Transit with John and Anne Marie Moynihan, then John trying to do everything to get the car fixed and moving again, but it didn't happen.

I stood there crying, I was so disappointed for Dad. I've grown up a bit since then, but I still want to cry when I think about that moment. Afterwards, Dad was incredibly fast in this car, leading many events, but it always let him down and a victory in a 6R4 always eluded him.

Although there have been many other amazing rally cars over the years, the one, the only was the 6R4 for me. He was lucky enough to buy another one in 2018 and is now back rallying, the best thing being that I'm now old enough to drive this one. »

ALSO READ > Before Craig Breen, the co-drivers and drivers with tragic fates in the WRC

BMW M3 E30 Group A

Craig Breen scored a victory aboard this legendary BMW from the late 1980s. Entered with his co-driver Paul Nagle in the 2021 Killarney Historic Rally, he won the event with a comfortable lead. With its 4-cylinder engine prepared by Prodrive, the BMW M3 was particularly at home on asphalt rallies, as evidenced by Bernard Béguin's success at the 1987 Tour de Corse:

Another video for the road:

Ford Escort MkII

The Ford Escort MKII is one of the most popular models in historic rallies. It is therefore not surprising to have seen Craig Breen aboard one of them throughout his career. Easy to maintain, or even improve with contemporary parts, the Escort is very playful with its rear end. In 2019, Craig Breen declared: “ It's incredible to be able to drive 40 year old historic cars even faster than the modified cars sometimes! »

Ford Sierra RS Cosworth Group A

This is Craig Breen's latest project, completed in the 2022-23 offseason. Before he starts the WRC season with Hyundai Motorsport, the Irishman had refurbished a Ford Sierra Cosworth that belonged to one of his childhood idols, Frank Meagher.

“After almost two years of hard work, passion and dedication, this masterpiece is finally finished, he wrote at the end of 2022. When I managed to track down this car, I could never have imagined that the final product could have been this good.
Tom Gahan and his team have done an incredible job, which gives me goosebumps every time I see it.

Adam, Patrick, Sean and everyone involved in the build, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Barney Mitchell, what a job to reproduce the original 1992 livery, with the help of Kevin McDaid. The details are superb. I also thank PKM Consulting for making a set of shock absorbers that make the car dance a little better than it did all those years ago!

Thank you very much to everyone who has been involved in this project since day one, you have made a childhood dream come true. Frank Meagher – the hero of a generation, thank you for fueling the passion of thousands, we will never forget you. »

Craig Breen narrowly missed out on victory at the Killarney Historic Rally. A broken driveshaft before the final stage meant he couldn't fight back and let Jonny Greer win on some of Ireland's most famous asphalt stages.

Subaru Legacy RS Group A

Specializing in the restoration of classic cars, the BGMsport company contacted Craig Breen to breathe the boxer engine of an ex-factory Subaru Legacy RS Group A at the Castle Combe Rallyday in 2021. Guess the driver's response...


Ford Escort WRC

Engaged by M-Sport At the end of the 2021 WRC season, Craig Breen took advantage of the exceptional heritage of Malcolm Wilson's team to enter an ex-Patrick Snijers Ford Escort WRC in the 2021 Rally Legend in San Marino. We are entering the era of WRC cars, equipped with a turbo and a very noisy anti-lag system when lifting the accelerator pedal:

Citroen C4 WRC

Rally Legend again but this time, Craig Breen moves into the modern era with a Citroën C4 WRC. It is one of the most successful models in the history of the World Rally Championship, with four Drivers' titles for Sébastien Loeb between 2007 and 2010:

In 2018, then an official Citroën WRC driver, Craig Breen took the C4 to success at Rally Legend.

Ford Focus WRC

Insatiable Craig Breen! Once he had driven the C4, he only wanted to try its rival, the Ford Focus WRC. What was done in 2022, in a local Irish rally, with a chassis that belonged to Marcus Grönholm:

Bonus: Lotus Cortina

As part of the 2022 Goodwood Revival, Craig Breen took part in the prestigious St Mary's event at the wheel of a blue Lotus Cortina. Fourth for his first participation, the converted rally driver was delighted!

Medhi Casaurang

Passionate about the history of motorsport across all disciplines, I learned to read thanks to AUTOhebdo. At least that's what my parents tell everyone when they see my name inside!

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