An impressive drive under pressure in Japan
Ford Team Director Malcolm Wilson was delighted with Mikko Hirvonen's performance which saw the Finn take Rally Japan victory on Sunday.
"Since midday (Saturday) he hasn't been under huge pressure and this was an impressive
drive," Wilson explained. "It's an important time for him as he prepares to step up within the BP-Ford team next year and he took his chance perfectly."
"The way this rally turned out wasn't what I expected," Wilson continued. "On Friday afternoon it wasn't looking so easy but in the end we've taken a step closer to the manufacturers' title."
Ford lead rival Citroen by 34 points with just Rally Ireland and Rally GB remaining.
Ford TeamRS Director Jost Capito was also pleased to see Hirvonen take the top step of the podium.
"To win in Japan is special because this is one of the world's biggest car markets and to have four Focus RS cars finish in the top five here emphasises the performance and reliability of Ford's vehicles. Leading both championships keeps us in a perfect position for an exciting finale to the season on the final two rounds."
Hirvonen himself is a solid third in the championship standings.