Kris Meeke.jpg

Northern Irishman Kris Meeke wins Portugal’s WRC Rally

Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke celebrated the second World Rally Championship win of his career by clinching the number one spot in the Rally de Portugal last weekend.

The 36-year-old finished the race 29.7 seconds ahead of Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen, and a further five seconds ahead of three-time Rally de Portugal winner Sebastien Ogier.

Last year’s champion Jari-Matti Latvala did not even make the top-5, finishing sixth.

Meeke could hardly have hoped for a better return to the WRC after having missed the previous two rallies in the Americas.

“It was nearly a perfect weekend, a text book performance. It’s another step for me as a driver,” he told the WRC website.

“This year is all about gathering experience and I couldn’t have done any more. We’ll use these rallies this year for our benefit and try to mount a title challenge next year,” Meeke said.

He also dedicated the win to his Portuguese fans, saying the race’s atmosphere was “incredible”.

“What a place this is to drive, especially on that final stretch in Fafe,” he said.

The Citroën driver is now expected to race in six to eight rounds of this year’s championship as he helps develop a new car before returning to full seasons in 2017 and 2018.

The 2016 Rally de Portugal was the second to take place in the north of the country, after being moved away from the Algarve to reach a “larger number of WRC fans”.

The top-10 results are as follows:

1. K. Meeke (3:59:01,0)
2. A. Mikkelsen (3:59:30,7)
3. S. Ogier (3:59:35,3)
4. D. Sordo (4:00:38,1)
5. E. Camilli (4:03:02,6)
6. J. Latvala (4:03:07,9)
7. M. Ostberg (4:05:54,6)
8. M. Prokop (4:09:25,1)
9. P. Tideman (4:10:46,2)
10. N. Fuchs (4:12:15,0)

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