Kris Meeke has completed a dominant performance at the Rally de Portugal easing through to the finish.
The Citroen driver led from the second stage of the event to beat home Andreas Mikkelsen and Sebastien Ogier.
The Ulsterman’s 29.7 second victory in the Citroen DS 3 is the second WRC win after finishing first in Argentina last year.
“I have to say it was a really perfect weekend – textbook,” said Meeke.
“A huge thanks for my team and my engineer who did a lot of work for this rally. I couldn’t have done any more really.
“For me as a driver it’s another step. Next year we’ll mount a real challenge.”
Meeke had missed the previous two events in Mexico and Argentina, but had plenty of time at the wheel as Citroen forged ahead with testing of the next-generation World Rally Car.
Andreas Mikkelsen outpaced team-mate and championship leader Sebastien Ogier on the final day to take second in a Volkswagen Polo R, relegating the Frenchman to the last step of the podium by 4.8 seconds.
Ogier won the final live TV Power Stage to claim three bonus points. Jari-Matti Latvala took two points for second while Mikkelsen claimed the final point in third.
Australia’s Scott Pedder just missed a podium result in the WRC 2 category. After rolling his Skoda in the pre-event shakedown and then losing a lot of time on the opening day due to a puncture. Pedder fought back to be sitting in third with just one stage remaining, before a spin on the final test saw him finish just 0.2 seconds off the podium.
“Not the end to Rally de Portugal we hoped for, unfortunately had a spin on the final stage and relinquished third in WRC 2 to Marius Aasen,” said Pedder.
“Had a great weekend though, the car and the team were awesome and we will come back stronger! Congratulations to Pontus Tidemand (WRC 2 winner) great dive all weekend!”
VIDEO: Morning stages
FINAL POSITIONS : Rally de Portugal
|1||Kris Meeke||Abu Dhabi Total WRT||Citroen||3:59:01.0|
|2||Andreas Mikkelsen||Volkswagen Motorsport II||Volkswagen||+0:29.7|
|3||Sebastien Ogier||Volkswagen Motorsport||Volkswagen||+0:34.5|
|4||Dani Sordo||Hyundai Motorsport||Hyundai||+1:37.1|
|5||Eric Camilli||M-Sport World Rally Team||Ford||+4:01.6|
|6||Jari-Matti Latvala||Volkswagen Motorsport||Volkswagen||+4:06.9|
|7||Mads Ostberg||M-Sport World Rally Team||Ford||+6:53.6|
|8||Martin Prokop||Jipocar Czech National Team||Ford||+10:24.1|
|9||Pontus Tidemand||Skoda Motorsport||Skoda (WRC 2)||+11:45.2|
|10||Nicolas Fuchs||Skoda (WRC 2)||+13:14.0|
|15.||Marcos Sebastian LIGATO||6|