BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson has praised Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala after they delivered a one-two result in Japan last weekend, a result that crucially keeps the 'Blue Oval' in contention in the race for the manufacturers' title.
Hirvonen led from the opening test on Friday en-route
to his third win of the season, while Latvala completed the team's domination of the 14th and penultimate round in the World Rally Championship by finishing second, 31.1 seconds behind his fellow countrymen.
It was the squad's third formation finish of the year, following one-two triumphs in Sweden and Turkey and means the M-Sport-run squad will go to the final round, Wales Rally GB, eleven points behind Citroen with a maximum 18 at stake.
"It's a dream result for the BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT. But it has been a difficult weekend for all of us involved after the injuries to Patrick Pivato [Francois Duval's co-driver] on Friday," said Wilson Sr.
"Full credit to both Mikko and Jari-Matti though for delivering incredible performances in what were probably the most changeable road conditions we've seen on a rally.
"We couldn't have asked for anything more, except maybe the Drivers' title going to the wire. It keeps our [manufacturer] championship hopes alive and the same top three on the final round would give us the crown again.
"Rally GB is a difficult rally in difficult conditions. I'm really pleased to hear Sebastien [Loeb] doesn't like those conditions. Let's wait for December and pray for some nice weather for Sebastien!"
Ford of Europe's motorsport director Mark Deans meanwhile was also delighted and he too was impressed with Hirvonen and Latvala, who between them won 14 of the events 26 stages – three tests were cancelled.
"To see a Ford one-two in such an arduous event is a tribute to man and machine," he added. "The team worked tirelessly to bring the result we needed and will send us to Rally GB with a chance to wrestle a third consecutive world manufacturers' title.
"We vowed to fight right to the end of the season and that positive attitude has put us back into contention for the crown."