BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director, Malcolm Wilson has said that the battle for both WRC titles is well and truly on following the Acropolis Rally of Greece.

The 'Blue Oval' led the three-day event in Loutraki from start-to-finish, with Mikko Hirvonen putting in a 'masterful drive' en-route to the victory, while Jari-Matti Latvala recovered from his error in the final stage on Friday to scoop third.

The result rejuvenates Ford's challenge in both championships - and with second-placed Sebastien Ogier not nominated to score manufacturers' points, the M-Sport-run outfit still took the maximum 18-point haul.

Ford now lies just 15 points off Citroen in the manufacturers' standings, while second-placed Hirvonen has closed the gap in the drivers' series, with Sebastien Loeb only seven points in front.

"It's the perfect weekend. It was a masterful drive from Mikko," Wilson Sr summarised. "Although he led after the first day, we were worried about the effect his start position would have on Saturday, but he knew exactly what to do and did it to perfection.

"He has driven a faultless rally. He knew how to tackle this one from start-to-finish. It's definitely one of his best drives.

"Jari-Matti did a great job too after his error and capitalised on the mistakes of others. There's been enough talk about Friday's incident and I'm really relieved to see the way he pulled it back and delivered.

"It is Ford's 70th and M-Sport's 40th win. It's also the first time a Focus RS WRC has won a world rally with an engine built entirely at M-Sport, and that's a proud achievement."

Pressed on if the tables are starting to turn in their favour now, Wilson said it's definitely looking more positive than it was earlier this year when Citroen looked to have it in the bag.

"If you look before Sardinia, people were saying Ford were out of it," continued Malcolm, who received an OBE in The Queen's Birthday Honours list on Saturday. "As we always said, to be in a strong position we need both of our guys performing at their best, like they were in Sardinia.

"We nearly got that here on Friday night, but we got it back - there are a lot of events coming that suit our drivers and one thing is sure, we won't give up.

"We're back in the fight. This result has brought the Championship alive again. It's a game-on in both."

John Fleming, chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe, meanwhile was also happy with the way things worked out.

"Rallies don't come any tougher than the Acropolis and to win the most demanding round of the WRC for the seventh time in 10 years is a fantastic achievement," he added.

"To take two podium places and position four of our Focus RS WRCs in the top six [with Munchi's Ford's Federico Villagra fourth and BP Ford Abu Dhabi 'third' driver Khalid Al Qassimi sixth] is further testament to its strength, reliability and speed."


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