Britain's Matthew Wilson has said that he is happy to have 'survived' and got to the finish of the Neste Oil Rally Finland on Sunday, even if he did just miss out on getting into the top eight.

Wilson struggled early on to find the right confidence on this ultra-fast and highly specialised round, but as it progressed he began to settle in and his times started to gradually improve.

Indeed on the final day he finished with a bit of a flourish, setting the fourth fastest time in SS23 and a seventh best effort in SS24, concluding proceedings 18.6 seconds off Toni Gardemeister, who took the final drivers' point in eighth in his Suzuki SX4 WRC.

Ninth also meant he went one better than in 2007 - and 2006, when he brought his Stobart Ford Focus WRC car home in tenth.

"In some sections on Friday my splits were really good and the car felt great. But in others I was lifting too much and just struggled to find the confidence," reflected Matt, who is the son of M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson.

"With this rally it takes a day to get your brain into Finland mode [especially with no testing during the summer break] as the speeds and commitment needed here are different to anywhere else in the world.

"Overall this is a really tough rally and we have moved forward with some important setting changes for when the rally comes back here. This event is all about experience and finishing has certainly helped that. Ninth is a good result for us and better than last year.

"It's easy to go fast in some places but you need the experience and the confidence to go fast everywhere. Saturday was tough and it caught many people out so it was good to survive and take these positives to Rally New Zealand [which is the next gravel event]."

Prior to New Zealand though - where Wilson will be nominated to score manufacturers' points for the third time this season - there is the Rallye Deutschland and Matt will be one of four Stobart men in Germany, with Francois Duval back to strengthen the line-up ahead of the return to asphalt for the first time since the Monte in January.


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