Henning Solberg has thrown down the gauntlet and told Ford boss Malcolm Wilson that he can help the BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT win the manufacturers' championship, given a 'proper' factory car.

Henning, who finished third in Poland on Sunday, following a rally long battle with his brother, Petter and Citroen's Sebastien Ogier, gained his second rostrum result of the year as a result of Jari-Matti Latvala's misfortune in the final test, the short 2.50 kilometre super special.

Latvala has made a number of errors this year and the latest one was a major blow for the 'Blue Oval', which had been poised to cut Citroen's lead in the manufacturers' to just six points.

"Wow, what an end to the rally, it's very sad for Ford but the podium is fantastic for me," said Henning. "I think it has been a good rally for me.

"I am always thinking for the next rallies. I have to say Mikko did a great job. I think he will be the champion this year.

"If I had a proper car for Finland, I could beat Dani and maybe help the team win the Manufacturers' Championship. I believe that!"

Henning struggled initially in Poland and was not happy with the set-up on his M-Sport-run Ford Focus RS WRC.

However as the event went on he got more and more comfortable and on the final day was quickest in SS15 and SS16.

The six points he picked up for third moves him up to fourth in the drivers' championship, with 27 points now on the board - 2 more than Latvala and behind only Mikko Hirvonen and Citroen duo Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo, all of whom are with full factory teams.

"We have come a long way since Thursday when the feeling after Shakedown wasn't very good and today the car has been much better," continued the Stobart Ford man.

"I've been driving as fast as I can on this rally and really been pushing hard in the battle with Petter; the fastest stage times we had today prove just that. We have had a learning weekend and this rally has some fantastic stages but it's also been very difficult.

"I've got the result I wanted, and that helps me maintain my position as the best non-factory driver in the championship."

Henning's co-driver, Cato Menkerud meanwhile added that if they want to do as well in Finland at the end of next month, then they need to be on it from the off.

"We have to start faster on the Friday. But it is not so easy to be in a customer car. We don't get a chance to do all the tests.

"We are driving a lot but not enough. In Finland, we will start fast on Friday morning," he vowed.


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