Kris Meeke: Dungannon driver holds nerve to win Spanish Rally
Dungannon's Kris Meeke held his nerve to clinch his fifth win in a World Rally Championship event as he took a dominant victory in Spain.
Leading by 13 seconds overnight, Meeke won five of Sunday's final six stages as he finished 28 seconds clear of world champion Sebastien Ogier.
Meeke's win eases the pressure on him after he exited in several events this season after his dramatic Mexico win.
"It has been an exceptional weekend," said the 38-year-old Citroen driver.
"It's not how many times you get knocked down it is how many times you get back up again.
"The car was exceptional on tarmac and we were able to keep in the mix on Friday on the gravel. It was a very special win," added Meeke, who was greeted by wife Danielle and young daughters Isabella and Alexandra at the finish in Catalonia.
After trailing by three seconds after Friday's opening day, Meeke took the lead on Saturday's first stage and never relinquished it.
Meeke extended his lead further on Sunday's loop, setting the fastest time in the first five stages to take a 27.3 second lead over Ogier and Tanak into the final stage.
There was little let-up from Meeke as he finished second in the concluding power stage, with no repeat of the late drama in Mexico when he slid off into a car park before finding his way back to the road.
After the Mexico win, crashes in Monte Carlo, Sweden, Portugal, Argentina, Italy and Germany along with an engine failure while leading in Corsica, marred his campaign.
His regular exits led to him being dropped for Rally Poland during the summer but the Northern Irishman will hope his fifth WRC victory will help secure his Citroen drive for 2018.
Welshman Elfyn Evans had a difficult rally for M-Sport, finishing in seventh place.