Sordo struggled to get comfortable in the DS3 on the opening three rounds of the season, and five weeks ago on Rally Mexico he finished more than six minutes behind winner Sebastien Ogier.
But the Spaniard’s form was revitalised when his team introduced a new stiffer car set-up in Portugal.
He was quickest on Thursday’s qualifying stage, took two stage wins on Friday and began Saturday’s competition just 4.4 seconds behind leader Ogier.
But Sordo’s quest for a maiden WRC victory came to an end on Saturday’s first test when he slid wide after a crest and clipped a tree with his right-hand rear wheel. He retired shortly after.
Back in service, however, Sordo insited there were plenty of positives to take from the rally.
“One good thing is we didn’t make a mistake for pushing too hard. We went out because I misunderstood a pace note," he explained.
"Before that the feeling in the car was incredible. We had lots of grip, could keep the car in the line all the time and the braking and traction were perfect. We showed good speed all the way from shakedown
“Okay I’m disappointed for the team because everybody was motivated and excited, but I prefer to finish like this - not down in fourth or fifth like I did in Mexico. I feel bad, but on the other hand I feel good about the car and that’s important,” he added.
"I prefer to finish like this - not down in fourth or fifth like I did in Mexico"