Kris Meeke finished fifth overall on Sunday in a dramatic finish to the 2015 RallyRACC-Catalunya.
World Champion Sebastien Ogier crashed eight kilometres into the stage, handing victory to his Volkswagen teammate Andreas Mikkelsen to hand the Norwegian his maiden win in the series.
Mikkelsen beat teammate Jari-Matti Latvala by 3.1 seconds and Spaniard Dani Sordo finished third in a Hyundai i20, a further 18.1sec behind.
Mikkelsen also won the final live TV Power Stage to claim three bonus points – Latvala took two points in second and Citroen’s Meeke took the final point in his DS 3.
Ogier’s misfortune promoted Meeke from sixth to fifth in the wheel tracks of his teammate Mads Ostberg.
“We came to this event to consolidate our second overall position in the Manufacturers’ Championship and we did just that,” commented the Dungannon driver at the finish.
Meeke was unable to call upon his knowledge of the stages, because he had made a mistake last year and without that experience he found the stages not only difficult but tricky.
Day two was one of frustration for Meeke as he struggled with the set-up on his works Citroen DS3, but a determined effort saw him climb from eighth place to fifth to start the final day in an event which has proved more difficult than he could have imagined.
With the title already in the grips of Ogier, Meeke has now moved to fifth overall and is just 16 points adrift of Ostberg.
The championship concludes later this month and for Meeke it is very much Meeke’s home event, the UK’s round Wales Rally GB.