It was a near perfect rally for championship leader Mikko Hirvonen as he matched and pulled away from title rival Sebastien Loeb
on day two of Rally Finland, eventually taking a comfortable third straight victory and edging three points clear in the title chase.
To cap off
an impressive weekend for the Ford World Rally Team, Jari-Matti Latvala made no mistakes and raised his game as the event progressed, passed the second Citroen of Dani Sordo and finished a strong third to help the team to 16 valuable championship points.
"Both Mikko and Jari-Matti delivered a perfect job for the team," said team principal Malcolm Wilson. "Without question, it was Mikko's best drive.
"Winning Rally Finland is a turning point in his career, but I never doubted he would take victory here one day. He has increased his lead in the drivers' standings and the destination of the title could go down to the final round. Jari-Matti drove superbly, especially given the pressure he was under."
Ford of Europe confirmed last week that they will remain committed to the championship in 2010 and 2010 - along with rivals Citroen - and the Rally Finland result was a timely boost for the brand.
"Victory in the country that is regarded as the spiritual home of rallying is a tremendous achievement," said Ford's Gerard Quinn. "Four consecutive wins in conditions ranging from the blisteringly fast roads in Finland to the rock-strewn tracks and searing heat in Greece demands a blend of strength, speed and reliability from both man and machine and I look forward to us challenging in Australia next month."