Peugeot's Kris Meeke dominated the Sata Rallye Azores, the fourth round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, to score his second successive win in the series.
Meeke beat Skoda's Jan Kopecky by 53.1 seconds on the spectacular gravel event around the mid-Atlantic volcanic island of Sao Miguel in the Azores archipelago. He takes the lead of the series thanks to his win, ahead of fellow Peugeot driver Freddy Loix.
Meeke set 11 fastest times from the 17 stages, which included treacherous conditions on the final day. He took numerous stage wins today despite foggy conditions during the morning, and damaging the front and rear of his 207 as he splashed through huge puddles in the early afternoon, but survived everything the elements could throw at him to emerge victorious.
"This is awesome, a really good result," said Meeke. "The conditions played a big part, what with the fog, the standing water and everything, but to win means a lot."
Peugeot's Nicolas Vouilloz finished third, over a minute behind Meeke and 11s in arrears of Kopecky.
There was late drama, as Anton Alen lost fourth place on the last stage. A spin stranded him against a wall, and he had no reverse gear to extract himself. He lost 15 minutes, which dropped him to 18th position - scant reward after a drive in which he sometimes transcended the Abarth Grande Punto's gravel abilities.
That promoted Loix a position, so he has 18 points to Meeke's 20. The next round is on the asphalt of Ypres in Belgium, where Loix will be determined to redress the balance on his home event after Meeke's gravel supremacy.
Local Mitsubishi driver Fernando Peres was classified fifth, ahead of the similar car of Austria's Franz Wittman. World Rally Championship regular Conrad Rautenbach finished seventh in his Peugeot, ahead of Ricardo Moura (Mitsubishi).
Home favourite Bruno Magalhaes trailed in ninth after a plethora of transmission problems hobbled his Peugeot.
Pos Driver Car Time 1. Kris Meeke Peugeot 2h36m48.3s 2. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 53.1s 3. Nicolas Vouilloz Peugeot + 1m04.8s 4. Freddy Loix Peugeot + 2m15.2s 5. Fernando Peres Mitsubishi + 4m45.2s 6. Franz Wittmann Mitsubishi + 5m33.2s 7. Conrad Rautenbach Peugeot + 5m35.8s 8. Ricardo Moura Mitsubishi + 5m41.3s 9. Bruno Magalhaes Peugeot + 7m03.5s 10. Bernardo Sousa Abarth + 8m13.8s