Faced with the disappointment of a double retirement from Ford World Rally Team pair Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg, Wilson said the efforts of second and third-placed Novikov and Tanak had lifted his spirits on the back of a difficult five days, which began when Ford confirmed it would not longer be backing a factory team in next year’s WRC.
“It’s been a tough week,” said Wilson, “and that continued when Jari and Petter had their problems, but, for me, the big positive here is the speed the customer guys have shown. What Evgeny has done today has been absolutely fantastic. For a guy so young and comparatively inexperienced, he has driven a really mature and very fast day.
“The same goes for Ott and Mads as well. I feel disappointed for Mads that he’s had a problem, but to have those three guys right at the sharp end and fighting for second place on a round of the World Rally Championship is fantastic for them and for M-Sport.”
Ostberg suffered a rear differential problem on his Adapta-run Fiesta, dropping him to seventh overnight. The Norwegian is confident he can find the 1m10s needed to get back up to fourth place before the finish on Sunday.