Kris Meeke is predicting a close fight with fellow Peugeot 207 Super 2000 driver Bruno Magalhaes when the Intercontinental Rally Challenge resumes in Madeira next month.

Meeke, the defending IRC champion, could only manage fifth place on his debut on the island last season while Magalhaes came within a whisker of winning the event, losing out by 3.5 seconds to Giandomenico Basso.

The Portuguese underlined his rise in prominence with victory on Sata Rallye Acores earlier this month, a result that Meeke expects Magalhaes to repeat on the Funchal-based contest.

"We know Peugeot are very strong on asphalt and we have a very good history on asphalt so we have to get the full potential out of the car in Madeira," said Meeke.

"But Bruno will be incredibly fast there - his speed there is incredible so it will be a big fight in Madeira."

Victory for Magalhaes in the Azores elevated him to third place in the 2010 IRC drivers' standings, 18 points behind Juho Hanninen. Meeke, who finished second, is 25 points adrift of the Finn.



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