Having dominated day one of Rally Curitiba, Kris Meeke successfully secured victory in the Brazilian round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Meeke stormed to victory on each of the seven stages on leg one of the gravel event and carried a healthy lead into Saturday's second leg, where he was forced to act as road-sweeper as the first man into the stages.

Despite seeing his advantage cut to 26.2 seconds, Meeke successfully brought his Peugeot UK-entered 207 S2000 to the finish ahead of fellow Peugeot driver Nicolas Vouilloz for his first win of the year.

"This is one of the best rallies I have ever experienced," he said. "From start to finish, it was simply awesome. The stages are just incredible: so enjoyable to drive. I had a really good feeling with the car and the team and at the end of it we got the perfect result."

Vouilloz took second place after battling ahead of the Abarth Punto of Giandomenico Basso on the final afternoon, while Freddy Loix finished fourth and now leads the championship standings, with Monte Carlo winner Sebastien Ogier not taking part in the Brazilian event.

Meeke and Vouilloz set exactly the same time on the final stage of the rally, before heading back for the podium ceremony at the Curitiba circuit ahead of the opening qualifying session of the WTCC season.

Vouilloz had overhauled Abarth driver Giandomenico Basso on the final afternoon, with the Italian eventually finishing third. With Meeke clear in the lead, the pair had been locked in a tight battle for the runner-up spot throughout the two days of the rally, with Vouilloz initially claiming an advantage before Basso passed him on the final stage of day one.

This meant that the duo headed into the last day of the rally separated by just 0.3 seconds and when Basso stalled on the opening stage of the final afternoon, losing about ten seconds in the process, Vouilloz was able to make his move, which he defended to the end.

Peugeot Belgium's Freddy Loix was fourth, to move into the championship lead by three points. From the beginning, Loix - who finished second in Monte Carlo - had admitted that his aim was to take the series lead in Brazil rather than push hard for victory, while the former WRC runner was also faced with the fact he had to run first on the road on day one.

Loix now leads the championship on a total of 13 points, ahead of Meeke, Sebastien Ogier and Basso: who are all tied for second on ten points. Nicolas Vouilloz is third in the standings with eight points.

In fifth place on the Curitiba Rally was Argentinean driver Alejandro Cancio, who put in a strong performance at the wheel of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. Cancio was consistently in the top-five stage times, even setting a third-fastest stage time at the end of leg one.

He beat local driver Rafael Tulio, who finished sixth overall and was also the top two-wheel drive runner in his Peugeot 206 S1600. Another Brazilian, Fiat driver Luis Tedesco, was second in the two-wheel drive category. Rounding off the points-scorers in Brazil was local man Marcos Tokarski, in his Peugeot 206.

The stunning Brazilian stages also led to some notable retirements, including Abarth's Anton Alen. The Finn suffered some suspension damage after hitting a rock on SS3 and lost time, but worse was to follow on the second day of the event when he went too quickly into a corner and rolled out of the rally on SS9.

Other key retirements included former Production Car World Rally Championship star Marcos Ligato, who was forced to retire from sixth place on Friday after loose rubber from a front puncture damaged his Mitsubishi's radiator. Saturday saw the retirement of Paraguayan driver Victor Galaeno in his Mitsubishi and the similar car of local hero Osvaldo Scheer.



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