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WRC Rally Portugal

Meeke makes rally return to honour Breen in Portugal Rally Championship

World Rally Championship event winner Kris Meeke will deputise for the late Craig Breen in the Portuguese Rally Championship.

Kris Meeke, Toyota Gazoo Racing

Breen was complementing his WRC third driver commitments for the Hyundai factory squad by running the Portuguese national series for the Hyundai Portugal squad in an i20 N Rally 2 car.

Following Breen’s tragic passing in preparation for last weekend’s WRC round in Croatia, the Hyundai Portugal squad has now confirmed it will continue to field two cars in the championship with Meeke to honour Breen on the vacant seat.

Breen had won the opening round of the national championship in Fafe last month, which also acted as a round of the European Rally Championship.

“When the invitation came up, I was a bit sceptical, everything felt too soon after the passing of a close friend,” said Meeke.

“My decision was not taken lightly. Firstly I accepted because its my desire to compete in Rally, but I also thought about what Craig would tell me, and I know he would tell me to accept.

“That's how I'm going to honour him. I will continue to compete as he always did, to win and to enjoy it.”

Kris Meeke, Sebastian Marshall, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Kris Meeke, Sebastian Marshall, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Meeke will contest his first drive for Hyundai Portugal at this weekend’s Rali Terras d’Aboboreira and is set to start the following round of the championship which features as a class at the WRC Rally Portugal event next month. Meeke is currently contesting the recce for this weekend’s rally.

The Northern Irishman was Breen’s WRC team-mate from 2016-2018 when the pair drove for the semi-works and then factory Citroen squad.

Meeke’s last rally start arrived at the Qatar International Rally last year, where he drove a Skoda Fabia Rally2 alongside co-driver Chris Patterson.

Since stepping away from the WRC at the end of 2019, the former factory Toyota, and Citroen driver has been a test driver for Skoda, helping to develop its Fabia Rally2 car.

The Hyundai WRC team is yet to make a decision regarding who will share the third entry alongside Dani Sordo for the remaining rounds of the WRC season. Sordo had already been confirmed to participate in the next WRC round in Portugal in May.

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