Kris Meeke became the fourth different winner in five WRC rounds this season after triumphing at Vodafone Rally de Portugal on Sunday afternoon.
The Northern Irishman, returning to the championship after missing the previous two rallies in the Americas, shook off the rust to win the four-day rough road event by 29.7sec in Citroën’s DS 3.
Thirty-six-year-old Meeke followed Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Hayden Paddon onto the top step of the WRC podium this year after building a lead of almost a minute during the first part of the rally and measuring his pace through the final day-and-a-half.
He took the lead in the second stage on Friday morning and remained troublefree on the rocky mountain roads in the north of the country, making the most of clean, grippy conditions courtesy of a low start position.
“It was nearly a perfect weekend, a text book performance. It’s another step for me as a driver. 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,” said Meeke, who is driving a part-programme as Citroën develops a new car for 2017.
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Round six takes competitors to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia for Rally Italia Sardegna, which is based in Alghero on 9 -12 June.