Matthew Wilson said he was happy with his best ever finish on Rally Portugal after securing a fifth place result in the third round of the WRC season.
The M-Sport Stobart
driver was looking to bounce back from his retirement in Mexico and ran as high as fourth after Mikko Hirvonen
ran into problems on the second day.
Although the factory Ford driver got back ahead on the final morning, Wilson was able to ease off and took his best finish of the season so far in fifth.
“We found a comfortable pace on the first stage this morning but then we backed off - I just didn't want to take any risks,” he said at Sunday's finish. “If we'd known Mikko [Hirvonen] had problems on the same stage, then we probably would have pushed harder but it was difficult to know how to play it. I think the incident in 2009 was on the back of my mind when we were running fifth on the final day and then I crashed but I'm happy with how everything has gone generally.
“We were able to increase the pace when we needed to and then yesterday we had the luxury of playing things a bit cooler after Henning has his puncture. The result has made me really determined to try and secure more WRC rounds later on in the season and this is what Scott and I will be concentrating on over the next couple of months.”
Team-mate Henning Solberg
meanwhile had battled for position with Wilson before suffering power steering issues and a puncture on day two. A turbo problem on the final day then saw him lose valuable time and saw the Norwegian drop from sixth down to ninth place.
“We've had a lot of problems this weekend but that is how it is – I wonder when I can get some luck?” he said. “But we have made it to the end and scored points for the team so that is the main thing. There was a lot of humidity in the stages this morning and the grip was constantly changing – it was difficult but made even harder as we had some power steering problems on Stage 15. We had Kimi [Räikkönen] close behind us this afternoon and I wanted to push but then we had a problem with our turbo which lost us time and cost us three positions.
“For sure, it is disappointing to have more problems here but hopefully at the next rally, I can go flat out. You will see me on the podium soon.”