The emergence of a champion

"This is my first season at international level, so most of the events are brand new to me, and that's something that slightly unsettled me to begin with. I now need to improve my pace notes which still aren't ideal."

In the Azores, Bruno was back on more familiar territory and he pushed home that advantage to take the lead and, ultimately, win... "Next year, I now know I will be able to challenge for victory on every round..."

The triumphant run of the 207 S2000 on the mid-Atlantic island of Sao Miguel was rounded off by the second place notched up by defending IRC champion Kris Meeke.

Kris Meeke and Peugeot back in the IRC title chase

"I lost too much time because of a variety of incidents," noted the Peugeot UK driver. "I picked up two punctures, I had a spin and then, on the final day, I was handicapped by my running order. I really didn't expect to finish second. Before the start, I said I would let the result come to me, but I had no idea it would turn out to be such a difficult event or that it would end the way it did." The Briton's second podium finish of the year puts him back in contention for the 2010 IRC Drivers' crown.

"The upcoming rounds are all on asphalt, and my Peugeot tends to be strong on sealed surfaces."

Peugeot's maximum points haul in the Azores consolidates the firm's second place in the provisional Manufacturers' standings and sees it shave 12 points off the gap to the leader. The next round of the IRC (August 5-7) takes teams to another Portuguese island, Madeira, where the 207 S2000s of Meeke and Magalhaès - who will once again be on home soil - will be hoping to figure at the sharp end once again.

Next round: Rally Vinho Madeira (August 5-7)

A sensational one-two finish for the 207 S2000

The dramatic final day of the 2010 Rallye Acores saw Peugeot Portugal's Bruno Magalhaès take the win ahead of Peugeot UK driver Kris Meeke. The result hands the 207 S2000 its first one-two finish of the 2010 IRC campaign.

Bruno Magalhaès claims maiden international win with the Peugeot Portugal- backed 207 S2000 Despite their Latin origins, the Portuguese tend to be far less exuberant than, say, their Spanish neighbours, or the Italians. Indeed, Bruno Magalhaès could hardly be a more charming, calm and collected person, but his joy was only too evident on the top step of the podium in the Azores: "This is my second victory on this event, but it is only my first since it became a round of the IRC. I thought the win had escaped me, but I ended up recovering the lead on the final stage!"

Magalhaès had led for more than half the rally, and his name still figured at the top of the leaderboard on the Saturday morning when he was slowed by a freak incident.

"Oil began to leak from my gearbox and I found myself with smears all over the windscreen. I couldn't see a thing..."

Peugeot Portugal's technical team soon cured the problem, but 20 seconds were lost in the incident, and that seemed to have put paid to Magalhaès' chances of victory and scuppered his solid groundwork up to that point. Shortly afterwards, however, Hanninen punctured, while the new leader Kopecky crashed out.

"It was my turn to win today," observed Bruno, as down to earth as ever. The 30-year old has risen up through the Peugeot ranks. In 2005, he won his home Peugeot 206 Trophy and his reward for that was being named the local subsidiary's official driver for 2006, in a Peugeot 206 S1600. He went on to claim consecutive Portuguese titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009 driving a 207 S2000, a run which prompted Peugeot Portugal to become involved in the IRC.

-source: peugeot