WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP: Kris Meeke goes in to final day ahead in Rally of Portugal

Kris Meeke
Kris Meeke

Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke heads into the final day of the Rally of Portugal with a 43.5-second advantage over world champion Sebastien Ogier.

The 36-year-old held an overnight lead of almost 32 seconds over his French rival and won the morning stages of Baiao, Marao and Amarante to stretch the gap to over a minute.

However, Ogier took advantage of Meeke struggling with the extra weight and handling problems of carrying an extra spare wheel in his Citroen DS 3 to reduce the deficit in the afternoon.

“This afternoon we took two spares and in this rally it’s not easy because it changes the attitude of the car. Still, we had a good lead and we still do,” Meeke said at the end of the day.

Volkswagen’s Andreas Mikkelsen was the star of the afternoon stages with the fastest times on two of the three stages and would have overtaken Ogier in second only for the Frenchman to produce a final-stage push to stretch the gap from 0.5secs to 3.1s.