Breen, from Ireland, began Sunday’s six stages in third place in class after dropping back on Saturday afternoon with a rear differential glitch. Following a close battle with Yazeed Al-Rajhi for second, he moved in front when Hayden Paddon - who was leading by almost two minutes at the completion of day two - hit trouble on stage 20.
With Al-Rajhi losing time with an off-road moment on the penultimate test, Breen secured victory - his third of 2012 - by 37.6s to move five points clear of P-G Andersson in the race for the SWRC title.
“It’s been an up and down rally and we’re extremely lucky with what happened to Hayden,” said Breen. “He was so unlucky because it was so easy to go off where he did. We’re looking good for Spain but it’s going to take a big effort before then.”
While Paddon slips out of title contention, Breen, Andersson and Al-Rajhi will face off for championship honours when the series concludes in Catalunya from 8-11 November. Andersson finished fourth after restarting on day three following his exit on Saturday with alternator failure on his PROTON Satria Neo S2000.
For New Zealander Paddon, his retirement after he got stuck in a ditch for several minutes, continues a miserable run of results in the series, which he topped following his second victory of the season on home soil back in June. “The smallest of mistakes stuffs up the whole year, I’m sorry,” he tweeted.
Austrian Andreas Aigner took third on his SWRC debut with PROTON.