Craig Breen’s bid for victory on Rally Sweden is already over as he suffered two major moments with snowbanks on the rally’s second stage.
M-Sport driver Breen, who was seventh overall after the first stage after choosing to be cautious, brought out a red flag on SS2 after careering off the road and into a deep snowbank.
But he had already lost over 30 seconds earlier on in Kamsjön with a mild moment that caused a half-spin.
Through a quick and narrow section, Breen approached a right-hander and hung the rear of his Puma Rally1 out on exit. That collected a solid snowbank and pitched him into a half-spin, but because of the width of the road it took Breen several attempts to get the car pointing back in the right direction.
Thierry Neuville, the next car on the road, then had a moment at the exact same corner and rode the top of the snow at the exit of the corner as Breen had wiped out the snowbank.
Perhaps in a haste to make up time, Breen’s fate was sealed as he came into a narrow, bumpy section way too quickly later on and was thrown off the road and into some thick snow.
Immediately on the intercom to co-driver Paul Nagle, Breen said “we’re not getting out of this one” and the pair got out of the car to have a look.
His Puma Rally1 Hybrid came to rest nose-first into a snowbank, well above the topography of the road.
Kalle Rovanperä made it through the stage at competitive speed but Neuville, Gus Greensmith and Takamoto Katsuta were forced to back off due to Breen’s off.