RETURN IN STYLE: Kris Meeke returned to WRC in style by winning the 2016 Portugal Rally. Image: YouTube
Matosinhos, Portugal -Britain's Kris Meeke returned from a two-rally absence to win the 2016 Portugal Rally.
Meeke, who missed the previous two WRC rounds in the Americas, led for all but the first of the 19 speed tests to win the four-day rough road event in northern Portugal by 29.7 seconds in Citroen's DS 3.
It was his second world success after triumphing in Argentina in 2015.
'An almost perfect weekend'
Meeke said: "An almost perfect weekend - huge thanks to my team. We made the most of the position we were in and I couldn't have done any more. It shows the DS 3 is still a great car. For me too it's another step. I'm really, really excited about 2017!"
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Norway's 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 4.8sec.
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Ogier said: "I had another puncture, so two and only one spare. Luckily it was a slow puncture and I was able to get enough air in for the stage."
Three-time defending world champion Ogier still holds a 47-point lead over Mikkelsen in the drivers' standings, after finishing on the podium in all five of the rallies so far this season.
Rally of Portugal results and overall standings after Sunday's concluding four stages:
1. Kris Meeke-Paul Nagle (GBR/Citron DS3) 3hr 59min 01sec
2. Andreas Mikkelsen-Anders Jaeger Synnevaag (NOR/Volkswagen Polo-R) at 29.7sec
3. Sebastien Ogier-Julien Ingrassia (FRA/Volkswagen Polo-R) 34.5
4. Dani Sordo-Marc Marti (ESP/Hyundai i20) 1:37.1
5. Eric Camilli-Benjamin Veillas (FRA/Ford Fiesta RS) 4:01.6
6. Jari-Matti Latvala-Miikka Anttila (FIN/VW Polo-R) 4:06.9
7. Mads Ostberg-Ola Floene (NOR/Ford Fiesta RS) 6:53.6
8. Martin Prokop-Jan Tomanek (CZE/Ford Fiesta RS) 10:24.1
9. Pontus Tidemand-Jonas Andersson (SWE/Skoda Fabia R5) 11:45.2,
10. Nicolas Fuchs-Fernando Mussano (PER/URU/Skoda Fabia R5) 13:14.0
Special stage winners: Meeke 8 (SS2, SS3, SS5, SS6, SS7, SS10, SS11, SS12), Mikkelsen 4 (SS13, SS14, SS16, SS17), Ogier 4 (SS1, SS15, SS18, SS19), Neuville 2 (SS8, SS9), Latvala 1 (SS4)
1. Sebastien Ogier (FRA) 117 pts, 2. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) 67, 3. Mads Ostberg (NOR) 58, 4. Hayden Paddon (NZL) 57, 5. Dani Sordo (ESP) 56
6. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) 37, 7. Kris Meeke (GBR) 26, 8. Ott Tanak (EST) 24, 9. Thierry Neuville (BEL) 23, 10. Eric Camilli (FRA) 14