The five-time World Rally Championship rally winner was invited by the Hyundai Portugal squad to deputise for Breen, who lost his life in a Rally Croatia testing accident earlier this month.
Breen had been competing within the Portuguese nationwide championship alongside his WRC commitments for the Hyundai manufacturing facility staff. The Irishman gained the opening spherical in Fafe however crashed out of the next spherical within the Algarve this month.
Meeke, joined by co-driver Ola Floene, took up the vacant seat within the Hyundai Portugal squad driving an i20 N Rally2 automobile carrying a particular livery, that includes the Irish flag in honour of his absent pal and former WRC team-mate Breen.
Competing in his first rally since final yr’s Qatar Worldwide Rally, the 43-year-old claimed victory by 15.5s from WRC2 common Marco Bulacia.
The Northern Irishman gained seven of the 9 gravel levels to carry off Bulacia to take an emotional victory, main from begin to end.
“I attempted, it’s a lengthy uphill in an R5 automobile and with these smooth levels it sucks the facility to the engine however I attempted to be as clear as doable,” stated Meeke after the ultimate stage.
Kris Meeke, Crew Hyundai Portugal
Photograph by: Crew Hyundai Portugal
“It was a pleasant strategy to end the rally. We all know the rationale we’re right here this weekend with the livery and all the things, it was good to do the job.”
Spain’s Alejandro Cachon claimed third, ending 5 seconds adrift of Bulacia, driving a Citroen C3 Rally2.
Meeke is ready to contest the remaining rounds of the Portuguese nationwide championship, which incorporates an outing at Rally Portugal, the fifth spherical of the 2023 WRC season, subsequent month.
Spain’s Dani Sordo is ready to drive the third WRC manufacturing facility Hyundai on the occasion, with the staff but to substantiate plans for the automobile past the gravel occasion.