Rally Portugal: Kris Meeke flies to his second WRC victory
Kris Meeke showed impressive performance and made no mistakes at 2016 Rally Portugal to storm into his second WRC victory in a career. Meeke was leading from Friday’s morning to Sunday’s afternoon to end the perfect weekend with 29.7sec advantage over second-placed Andreas Mikkelsen. Meeke’s second career win is also 25th victory for Citroen DS3 WRC, in its last season at the world rally scene.
After he won five of eight special stages on Friday, Meeke was unbeatable on Saturday morning and with three consecutive stage wins he increased the gap to over a minute ahead of Sebastien Ogier. After that the Northern Irishman was driving clever but still he had enough speed to enter the final Power stage with 33.5sec advantage over Mikkelsen. At the last stage, the legendary Fafe, three Volkswagen drivers took additional points. Ogier was the fastest, Latvala second and Mikkelsen third.
Through the Saturday’s afternoon and Sunday’s morning we were watching the duel of two Volkswagens. Mikkelsen outpaced his older teammate Ogier to finish n the second place for the second time this season, after Monte-Carlo. For Ogier this was the fifth podium in five events, after two wins at Monte-Carlo and Sweden and two second places in Mexico and Argentina.
Dani Sordo finished fourth and he is the only Hyundai driver to score points, after Hayden Paddon’s i20 burned out on Friday and Thierry Neuville stopped because he was out of fuelon Saturday. Ford’s Eric Camilli reached his career-best result with fifth place, ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, who recovered from Friday’s technical problems. Mads Ostberg also brings valuable points for M-Sport World Rally Team finishing seventh. Martin Prokop survived all the problems to finish eight, ahead of two WRC2 contenders in Škoda Fabia R5 cars. Pontus Tidemand finished ninth overall and as a winner in WRC2 class, ahead of Peruvian Nicolas Fuchs.