Hyundai team principal Cyril Abiteboul delivered a statement on Wednesday to explain what happened in the crash that killed Hyundai driver Craig Breen last week.
Breen lost his life when testing for Croatia Rally last Thursday. He was laid to rest in his home city of Waterford on Tuesday.
Making his first public comment since the accident at a time when World Rally Championship teams usually host a media hour with all of its drivers, Abiteboul appeared in the Croatia Rally’s media center instead to explain the facts that have been determined from Breen’s fatal accident.
Abiteboul confirmed that a fence post intruded the side window of Breen’s cockpit, and that the 33-year-old succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
“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.
“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 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 tires or the safety equipment. The local police completed a report at the scene.
“Moving to this weekend and Croatia Rally, it was clear from the feedback from all stakeholders, and Craig’s family and friends, that the competitive spirit of Craig would have wanted this weekend’s rally to continue and for his team-mates to participate.
“We thought long and hard about how to do this and how best to honor Craig. To this end, we are contesting the event with two cars, both running with a special livery to honor 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 honor 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.
“This is all we have to say collectively at this stage.”