Ford team principal Malcolm Wilson says Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala have delivered the perfect day for him on today's opening leg of Rally Japan.
After a steady start, Hirvonen moved up through the afternoon to end the day 9.4sec off rally leader Petter Solberg. Latvala is two places farther back in fourth, 22.4sec off the top spot.
Wilson said: "For me, this has been the perfect day. The guys have done exactly what we asked from them and they are both in just the right position for us to capitalize tomorrow. This is where we wanted to be. Whether or not we're saying the same this time tomorrow, we'll see, but for tonight it's perfect."
Wilson said the Ford team had picked up where it left off in Finland.
"We did a bit more work on the car," said Wilson, "a little bit of tidying up in all areas and we can see the benefit here. It's great to see Mikko back on top form, not that he's been away, it's just been quite a tough time for him. I'm very happy right now."