Kuipers, who impressed during an expanded WRC campaign last season, was promoted to sixth in the final classification in Portugal following Mikko Hirvonen’s exclusion. It was the Dutchman’s first world championship outing since Wales Rally GB last November.
“I would love to do more but nothing is certain,” said Kuipers, who was tackling a WRC event with new co-driver Robin Buysmans for the first time. “I hope this result gets sponsors excited and then we will see for the rest of the year.”
Kuipers was driving a FERM Power Tools-backed Ford Fiesta RS WRC prepared by M-Sport in Portugal. Despite his lack of recent competition experience, the 26-year-old drove without error, reaching the finish in Faro in seventh place before his elevation to sixth overall.
“The conditions were unbelievable but it went well with no mistakes,” he said. “It was a difficult rally, especially with the weather but I’ve enjoyed it.”