Meeke to honour Breen with Hyundai drive

Kris Meeke has accepted an offer to replace good friend Craig Breen at the Team Hyundai Portugal squad

Kris Meeke has accepted an offer to replace good friend Craig Breen at the Team Hyundai Portugal squad

Kris Meeke has agreed to fill the void created by the death of “longtime friend” Craig Breen for the remainder of the Portuguese Rally Championship.

Meeke, a five-time round winner in the World Rally Championship whilst competing with Citroen, begins his campaign with Team Hyundai Portugal later this week with the Terras d’Aboboreira Rally.

Breen, who died nearly a fortnight ago in testing for Rally Croatia, had taken part in the first two rounds as he dovetailed his commitments in the series with his WRC campaign.

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Breen and Meeke spent three seasons as team-mates from 2016 through to 2018 prior to the latter’s release from his contract with Citroen midway through his final season.

The Northern Irishman, who will also compete in the WRC’s Rally Portugal in May in what will be his first rally at world level since the end of 2019, said: “My decision was not taken lightly.

“I first accepted the offer because it was my desire to get back into racing, but I also thought about what Craig would say to me, and I know that he would tell me to accept.

“This is how I will honour Craig. I will continue to compete as he always has – I will try to win and enjoy it.”

Meeke will drive the i20 N Rally2 in the Portuguese championship, allowing Team Hyundai Portugal to continue to field a two-car line-up for the event. Ricardo Teodósio will be the 43-year-old’s team-mate.

Although a co-driver has yet to be chosen, a team statement confirmed Meeke’s role. It read: “After much deliberation, Hyundai Portugal decided to invite Kris Meeke, a longtime friend of Craig, to take his place on Team Hyundai Portugal in CPR.

“Kris Meeke, a record-breaking and world-renowned WRC driver, joins Team Hyundai Portugal to continue Craig’s legacy.”

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