M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson insists that it would be one of the best achievements in the team's history if it is able to wrap up second in the WRC standings this weekend in Wales.
Thierry Neuville currently sits second behind championship winner Sebastien Ogier going into the season finale and hold s a 14 point advantage over Jari-Matti Latvala with a maximum of 28 point still available.
The Belgian ace will be making his final appearance for the team this weekend having announced a move to Hyundai
for the 2014 season, and while disappointed to lose the services of the 25-year-old, Wilson said it would be the ideal send-off if the team could help him earn the runner-up slot.
“You can imagine how we feel about Thierry leaving,” he said. “It was a late call for him to join us this season but it is there to see that he has done an incredible job this season and the way he has worked hard to achieve what he has is a credit to him. We're very sad to see him moving on, but we understand and respect the reasons for his decision.
“Hopefully he can remain second in the championship this weekend. I often look at the standings and think about where we were twelve months ago, and to come here with the possibility of taking second place as a privateer team with a driver with limited experience of a full season could be one of our best achievements.”
With Neuville moving on, M-Sport continues to be linked with former driver Mikko Hirvonen for the 2014 season, but Wilson refused to be drawn on who he was thinking about in terms of next year.
“I think we have to think outside the box a little,” he said. “We like to work with young drivers to try and help develop them, but I also think that everyone knows which drivers are available for next year. I have to get into a position where I can get the drivers I would really like into the team.”
Pushed harder to name names, Wilson would only joke about the three men – Sebastien Ogier, Neuville and Robert Kubica – sitting alongside him in the pre-event press conference in the Deeside service park ahead of this weekend's season finale.
“I think the dream list is sat here with me at the table,” he said, “but I don't have the money to buy them!”