Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Kris Meeke expects Bruno Magalhaes to help him take the fight to the dominant factory Skoda team when the IRC resumes in Azores next week.

Magalhaes, from Portugal, has extensive knowledge of the island event following his stint in his domestic rally championship and was in contention for a podium finish there last year until mechanical problems struck his Peugeot Sport Portugal 207 Super 2000.

After attempts by Peugeot to support Meeke's IRC bid by fielding cars for Sebastien Ogier and Stephane Sarrazin faltered when the French drivers retired on the opening stage in Sardinia and Ypres respectively, Meeke believes that Magalhaes can be a consistent threat to Skoda, which has won the last four IRC events.

"Bruno's stage times were right up there in the Azores last year but in the end he was quite unfortunate," said Meeke. "He knows the rally well and if he can string it all together he'll be up there fighting, which will be good for me and good for Peugeot."



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