Ford opted to use rather extreme tactics on the final stage of the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse today in order to promote Mikko Hirvonen up to second and aid his - and the teams - title challenges.

Hirvonen had been second to event winner Sebastien Loeb pretty much throughout the three-days in Corsica, however, a puncture in the first test on Sunday cost him over a minute and dropped him behind fellow Ford runners Francois Duval and Jari-Matti Latvala, as well as Subaru's Petter Solberg.

With Solberg himself suffering a puncture in the next stage though, it left the way clear for the 'Blue Oval' to play with the final order and team boss Malcolm Wilson subsequently instructed both Duval and Latvala to let Hirvonen by.

Prior to the final test, the 26.32 kilometre Pietra Rossa-Verghia stage, Duval checked into the time control early and picked up a two minute penalty, while Latvala also purposely picked up a penalty by arriving at SS16 nine minutes late.

Mikko thus moved up from fourth to second and now scores 8 points, as opposed to the 5 he would have got for fourth. Going to Japan - the penultimate round in the series - the Finn will trail Loeb by 14 points in the race for the 2008 drivers' title.

The BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT also gains an extra point as Jari-Matti was nominated for the Stobart Ford team this weekend. Ford lies 23 points behind Citroen in the manufacturers' post-round 13.

It is not the first time the M-Sport-run outfit has used tactics this year - and only last weekend did a similar thing in Spain, when Duval gave up his podium place to allow Hirvonen to finish third.

Is this taking things too far though?

Or is it understandable given just what is at stake?

Have your say - and post your views in the comments section now...



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