Britain's Matthew Wilson took his best ever result on the Neste Oil Rally Finland on Sunday, when he came home in eighth place in his Stobart Ford Focus RS WRC car.

Wilson climbed steadily through the field during the event, the ninth round in the 2009 World Rally Championship, to bolster his position in the drivers' championship and earn good manufacturer points for the M-Sport-run outfit.

In the end he set top-ten times in all but one of the stages, saving the best until the final day, when he was fifth fastest in the 10.82 kilometre Hannula test.

His only major problem was on day two when he lost around 15 seconds in Leustu 2, SS14, when he was forced to pull over and restart his car after the ignition switch on his Focus RS WRC was knocked off on landing from a big jump.

"It has been a really valuable learning experience," Wilson stated at the finish after taking his seventh points result of the year, "and we always pick up more things here than at any other rally.

"We made changes to our notes after Rally Poland to make them more accurate on the wider roads and that has worked fairly well; it's made them more precise. It has been good to see that I'm improving and this is my best ever result here. I've gained a lot of experience of the new stages which will help me next year."

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson meanwhile described his son's performance and that of Henning Solberg - who finished 30th in the sister car and took the final manufacturers' point, after suspension problems on day two - as 'solid'.

"Experience counts for so much here and both crews did a great job to bring the cars home and earn yet more manufacturer points for the Stobart team," Wilson Sr stated. "It's a pity that Henning had to SupeRally as I believe that he could have achieved another top-five finish.

"Overall it has been a solid team performance on one of the hardest and most specialised events in the championship."

"Finland is famous for its high speeds and demanding stages and both Stobart crews have done extremely well to earn manufacturer points," added Stobart Group CEO, Andrew Tinkler.

"Matthew and [co-driver] Scott [Martin] have taken a lot from this event and the experience and improvements they have made with their pacenotes will stand them in good stead for the future."


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