The BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT managed to hang onto the lead in the manufacturers' championship last weekend, despite an event which boss Malcolm Wilson described 'as the worst for the team since the China Rally in 1999', when both of his cars went out in SS1.

Despite the problems though, Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala both got to the end and they finished fifth and twelfth respectively. That was enough to give the M-Sport-run outfit seven more points in the manufacturers' championship and more importantly it ensures the 'Blue Oval' remains top, albeit with arch rivals Citroen now just 3 points behind.

"Our team spirit shone through after a tough opening day and we recovered well and we still lead the championship," Wilson noted.

"We salvaged good points from a tricky situation and that was far better than it looked earlier in the rally."

It was a similarly tough event for Ford's 'B' team, and while Gigi Galli recovered to finish seventh, fellow Stobart runners, Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson - Malcolm's son - weren't so lucky.

"This has been one of the most difficult events for the Stobart team in its short history and I am relieved that Gigi has made a comeback today to score good manufacturer points for the team," Wilson continued.

"I'm really pleased with the effort of the whole [Stobart] team, this weekend things have not gone our way but nobody ever gave up and this has resulted in Gigi's good result which leaves him fifth in the Drivers' Championship.

"This event has been a good platform for all three [Stobart] guys heading into Jordan next month and especially for Henning and Gigi whose first day performances showed some impressive times."

Ford of Europe's motorsport director Mark Deans meanwhile echoed Malcolm's thoughts at the end of the three-days.

"This proved one of the toughest rallies in recent years. We had our share of problems but the Focus RS proved strong enough and fast enough to fight back and score the points which keeps us at the head of the championship table," he concluded.

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