Breen, in a Ford Fiesta S2000, is starting his first SWRC event since the death of his former co-driver and friend Gareth Roberts in a crash on a non-championship rally in Sicily in June.
With six stages remaining on Saturday, Breen and PROTON factory pilot Andersson are comfortably clear of third-placed Juha Salo with Yazeed Al-Rajhi fourth and Maciej Oleksowicz fifth.
Esapekka Lappi will restart under Rally 2 rules in sixth. The rising Finnish star, competing for SWRC points as a wildcard entrant, had led by almost one minute when he hit trouble on stage 10 and retired with damaged suspension having begun to lose time when his Fiesta’s powersteering failed.
“I’m happy to finish the day in this position,” said Breen. “Leading into the final day is a massive thing for me.”
Andersson added: “Everything has been running well and we played a safe game this afternoon. It’s stupid not to because we have to think about the championship.”
Championship leader Hayden Paddon retired with engine failure after completing stage five this morning. He said: “Our engine dropped onto two cylinders two kilometres from end of stage five. It’s very gutting as the car was feeling so good and there was a lot more speed to come.”