The M-Sport driver drove on luck early in stage 2 when he cut a snow bank that made his Ford Puma spin, 4.7 km into the 27.8 km test.
Breen was able to back out of the snow bank to return to the stage after losing 28s, but worse was to follow minutes later.
The Irishman misjudged a high-speed section, which resulted in his Puma plowing through a snow bank.
With their car buried in deep powder snow at the edge of the forest road, officials responded to the incident by throwing the red flags.
Both Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle came out of the incident unharmed, but it seems unlikely the car will be picked up and his day seems to be over.
Breen, who started second on the road behind Kalle Rovanpera’s Toyota, had sat in seventh after finishing the initial stage 7.4 s behind this morning’s pacer Ott Tanak (Hyundai).
After its miserable Monte Carlo Rally, Hyundai made a strong start in Sweden, with Tanak’s teammates Oliver Solberg and Thierry Neuville third and fourth after the first test.
Neuville was lucky enough to avoid a similar incident as Breen’s moment early in stage 2. The Belgian almost turned into a spinner right at the point where Breen had previously taken a bite out of the snow bank.
Solberg was third after the first two tests in the much improved Hyundai
Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport pictures
He ended the scene under a red flag and reported a problem with the battery.
“We were lucky with the red flag,” Neuville said. “The battery did not work and the car asked me to turn on the emergency, but I can not stop it now.”
The scene restarted after a 15-minute delay, although Neuville and M-Sports’ Gus Greensmith are expected to get nominal times after being forced to slowly crawl down due to the red flag.
Rovanpera, who is second overall after Tanak, was the only driver to pass the stage at normal speeds before Breen’s crash.
Toyota rider Esapekka Lappi set the fastest time through the second stage, with a time 2.5 seconds faster than Rovanpera to jump into the rally lead.
The Finn, who last drove a Toyota 2018, is making his first start in a factory WRC car since the 2020 season ended with M-Sport.
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He replaces the eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier in Toyota’s list, with the Frenchman competing only in a partial campaign, after impressing Toyota boss Jari-Matti Latvala with an excursion in a private Yaris in last year’s Rally Finland.
Solberg remains third, with Tanak losing four.