Ott Tanak is optimistic heading into the second half of the 2015 World Rally Championship and says the upgraded Ford Fiesta RS machine is a 'dream to drive'.

The M-Sport rally driver ended Rally Portugal in fifth position, his best WRC career result at the event, and his team principal Malcolm Wilson hails it as one of his most impressive performances to date.

Tanak says he's thrilled by the new Ford machine and knew it was essential to manage a strong result after two consecutive points failures in Mexico and Argentina.

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"I have really enjoyed this weekend and have had such a great feeling in the car," Tanak said. "Considering the last couple of events it was important to get a solid result to keep moving forward and that is exactly what we did.

"We have all been working really hard for the last couple of months to get the car as it is now. Whatever I want it to do, it does it so easily. It really is a dream to drive."

Indeed, Tanak says he has run a thorough debrief with his engineers so they can target areas of improvement ahead of next month's Rally d'Italia.

"There is no doubt that there is more to come from me and we've also identified some areas where we can improve the car," he explained. "As it looks at the moment, I think the second half of the season could be really positive for both me and Elfyn Evans."

Wilson stated his appreciation of his Estonian driver and feels there is still much more to come from the car, driver and co-driver as a whole.

"This fifth place is just what Ott needed and I am extremely pleased for him and Raigo [M?lder, co-driver]," Wilson said. "They have driven with intelligence, and we certainly haven't seen all of their pace which is particularly encouraging given the quick times they were able to set. This was a really important result for them."