Meeke boosts Portugal title bid with dominant win

Meeke triumphs on Rali de Castelo Branco on latest Portuguese outing replacing late Breen in Hyundai


Kris Meeke has won the first asphalt round of this year’s Portuguese Rally Championship, Rali de Castelo Branco, to strengthen his bid for the title.

Meeke, who took over the Hyundai Portugal program the late Craig Breen had started alongside co-driver James Fulton, won his debut event – Rali Terras d’Aboboreira – but retired from Rally of Portugal that doubled up as a World Rally Championship round.

After a near two-month layoff where he instead was competing in Nitrocross, Meeke returned to the wheel of his Hyundai i20 N Rally2 and immediately set the pace on all four of Friday’s stages.


That earned Meeke, who turns 44 on Sunday, an 8.4-second advantage over round two winner Ricardo Teodósio who would prove to be Meeke’s closest competition throughout most of the 12-stage event.

In the end Meeke won all but two of the stages, including the powerstage, to record a 36.9s victory over Bernardo Sousa, who overcame both José Pedro Fontes and Meeke’s team-mate Teodósio on that final stage.

Sousa pipped Fontes – who was level with Teodósio after the penultimate stage – by just 0.9s with Teodósio another 4.8s behind.


Two-time PWRC and reigning Portuguese champion Armindo Araújo came home fifth while current championship leader Miguel Correia who was over a minute further back in sixth.

DirtFish-backed driver Max McRae was also competing in Portugal as additional seat-time ahead of next weekend’s round of the European Rally Championship, Royal Rally of Scandinavia.

But unfortunately the 19-year-old was forced to retire with mechanical issues aboard his Opel Corsa Rally4.