Ford clinched the manufacturers' title in the FIA World Rally Championship for the second season in succession on Sunday.

The M-Sport-run outfit only needed to notch up three points this weekend in Ireland to put the matter beyond doubt and with Mikko Hirvonen bringing his car home in fourth and taking five points, it was more than sufficient to ensure the 'Blue Oval' took the crown with one round still to go.

The BP Ford World Rally Team now holds a 21-point lead over Citroen and with a maximum 18 available on the 16th and final event in Wales in two weeks time it is a case of mission accomplished for the Dovenby-based outfit.

BP Ford team director Malcolm Wilson was delighted with the result: "I thought winning the title last year would be the crowning moment of my rally career, but to move forward from there to win it again and cement our place as the best in the world feels even better," he noted.

"It has been another huge effort by everyone, not only all the employees at M-Sport, but also Ford and all the partners and suppliers who have given just as much in contributing to this success.

"Marcus [Gronholm] and Mikko set a professional example behind the wheel and that excellence spread throughout the team, to those members who travel to events and also to those who play such an important role behind the scenes at Dovenby Hall."

Ford TeamRS director Jost Capito and John Fleming, president and CEO of Ford of Europe, meanwhile were also both very happy.

"After last year's title success we knew we had to raise our game in 2007 if we wanted to defend it. The reigning champions become the target of all their rivals and it is an old adage in sport that is harder to defend a title than it is to win it in the first place," Capito added.

"It gives me great pride to reflect on this achievement and see the confidence throughout the team. I would like to thank Marcus, Timo, Mikko and Jarmo for their leadership. Their passion has inspired everyone in the team to give their very best to help Ford take rallying's crown again."

"Everyone at Ford is truly delighted at this wonderful achievement," Fleming continued. "I have attended several WRC events this year and seen for myself the blood, sweat and tears that go into being successful.

"Winning a title in the WRC demands so many attributes - skill, discipline, communication to name but a few. They all come together under one word - teamwork - and I'm proud of how effectively so many people have united to deliver a second world title.

"I'd like to thank our drivers and co-drivers and everyone in the team for a marvellous effort throughout the season," he concluded.



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