Jari-Matti Latvala admitted it was an amazing feeling to secure second in the World Rally Championship standings on the final event of the year in Wales.
The Ford driver went into the season finale fighting Sebastien Ogier and Petter Solberg for the honour, with Ogier dropping out of contention when he crashed out on the second day.
That left Solberg and Latvala to fight for the honour and third for the Finn was enough to see him beat the Citroen pair to the runner-up position, even after a puncture on Wales Rally GB prevented him from fighting for his third victory of the campaign.
"This is a really big day for me and it feels fantastic,” he said. “My target at the start of the season was to finish in the top three in the championship, so second is amazing. I won two rallies this year and I never imagined that would happen as I was the second driver in the team.
"I had a self-inflicted puncture on Friday and that cost me the rally win, but that was my mistake. I was quite depressed after that, but the whole team encouraged me. I had doubts, but they didn't. Miikka and I worked so hard this year but I also want to thank Mikko for helping and encouraging me. The car showed its strength this weekend, so I must also thank my Focus too!"
Latvala also drew praise from team boss Malcolm Wilson for the way in which he bounced back from a tough 2009 to become a contender at the front.
"He has increasingly matured as a driver and the ability to find the consistency that he lacked previously was the key factor in finishing runner-up,” he said. “We took the pressure off by making him our number two driver and that helped his development. He did a thoroughly professional job all season. Mikko ended a difficult year on a high and that will boost his confidence for 2011."