May 24, 2015

FAFE, Portugal (AP) Jari-Matti Latvala won the Rally of Portugal after holding off Volkswagen teammate and two-time defending world champion Sebastien Ogier on Sunday.

Latvala safely steered his Polo through the remaining three gravel stages to get his first win of the season after failing to score a point in the previous three races.

The Finn finished 8.2 seconds ahead of Ogier. Andreas Mikkelsen overtook Kris Meeke in his Citroen to complete a 1-2-3 finish for Volkswagen at 28.6 seconds behind Latvala.

''It's a great feeling,'' said Latvala, who finished runner-up to Ogier in last year's championship.

''After my last three rallies some people wondered if I would ever come back. It has been one of the most difficult periods of my rally career,'' Latvala said. ''To come back and win is a unique feeling. It's payback for all those who believed in me.''

Ogier extended his lead in the overall standings after five of 13 races to 105 points. Mikkelsen is second with 63, while Latvala moved fifth with 46.

''I know it will be a happy event for some people,'' Ogier said. ''Some people will be happy because the best didn't win.''

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