The World Rally veteran succeeded in reeling in Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta on the last stage of the gravel event to deny the Japanese manufacturer a one-two-three result.

What made the display extra special was the fact that, unlike many of the sport’s top drivers, Portugal marked Sordo’s Rally1 debut for the Alzenau-based team.

Despite learning on the job across three days of tough competition, he quickly got to grips with the I20 N supermini, with his speed and consistency rewarded right at the death.

He took a 2.2 second deficit and turned it into a 2.1 second advantage over Katsuta who came agonisingly close to visiting the WRC podium for the second time in his career.

Julien Moncet – Sordo’s boss – said: “Another incredible day and a fantastic drive from Dani. We gave him the target to catch Taka Katsuta and he gave it everything to achieve it.

“We are so happy for him and impressed by his dedication and commitment. He has less mileage than the others, and fewer opportunities, but again he has shown how strong and reliable he is. He has had no problems all weekend.”

Sordo added: “I am really pleased to finish on the podium. I have given my best all weekend, but I’ve needed to learn the car stage by stage. I am pleased for the team that we can take a top-three result away from a challenging rally.”

As alluded to by Moncet, while Sordo had a largely incident-free weekend, the same could not be said for team-mates Thierry Neuville – second in the standings on 60 points, 46 adrift of Rally de Portugal winner and Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera – and Ott Tanak, who described his Rally de Portugal run as “frustrating”.

“We are quite far [from the leading drivers’ pace], there are plenty of jobs to do, and many things [remain] quite open,” said the 2019 WRC champion from Estonia.

Reflecting on their contributions, Moncet said: “Thierry, despite his mechanical issue on Friday, never gave up and brought the car home in fifth to score valuable points, even if it wasn’t the result that he, or we, would have wanted. Ott, too, had a strong Sunday and managed to claim back two positions to finish sixth.

“I am happy and proud of everyone in the team that we can score this podium, but our target is to win,” he added. “We are ready and willing to go one, or rather two steps higher. We know there’s more to come and we want to fight for the win in Sardinia.”