Ireland’s Craig Breen lies second in the Super 2000 category (SWRC) and 16th overall after day one of World Rally Sweden.
Friday’s action took nine stages in total, eight of which were located around the remote service halt town of Kongsvinger, and the day was concluded by the second run over the Superspecial at the Karlstad trotting arena.
Recomposed on the morning opener, Breen immediately moved to 5th and was up to 3rd after stage 3, the Irish driver being elevated to 18th overall after his early attack.
This continued on stage 4, where he recorded his first fastest SWRC stage time consolidating his class and overall position
During the morning loop the top two in the classification were Swedish drivers P G Andersson (Proton Motorsport, PROTON Satria Neo S2000) and Pontus Tidemand (ŠKODA Fabia S2000), as the two reached midday service take they were separated by 7.4 seconds, with 34.2 in arrears to leader Andersson.
The afternoon got underway with stage 6 and the re-run of the Opakar test, all remained the same at the top of the SWRC leader board with PG Andersson leading from Pontus Tidemand in second +6.6 seconds with Breen in third +46.9 away.
The next piece of drama unfolded on stage 8 when second placed Tidemand hit a snow bank causing him to lose three minutes as the front air intake was clogged with snow.
Breen was the benefactor here inheriting the Skoda driver’s position.
Over the penultimate Torsby 19 km test there was no change to the standings and this was also repeated on the final stage of the day on the Karlstad ‘Superspecial’.
Breen, however, had more luck second time around where he recorded, fifth best time 01:41.7, just 1.7 down on stage winner Andersson in the Proton.
At the end of the final Friday night super special stage in Karlstad, Breen said: ”We had some good stage times during the day, my best was on stage four where it was pleasing to go fastest in SWRC. I’m pleased to be in second and I think I deserve to be in that position.
“The conditions have been tough but you have to expect that here in Sweden. I expect more of the same tomorrow and I think it could be even hard as there less snow and the surface will cut up a lot, we still have a long way to go.”