After winning four years with no team orders at Volkswagen, Sebastien Ogier can expect to benefit from the assistance of his fellow M-Sport Ford Fiesta drivers as he goes in search of a fifth straight championship this season.
Ogier arrives at this week’s Rally Portugal with a lead of 16 and 18 points over Jari-Matti Latvala and Thierry Neuville, who is the winner of the past two rounds, respectively.
Should that gap narrow, M-Sport team principal Malcolm Wilson is willing to do what’s necessary to help the Frenchman to a successful defence of his title – and M-Sport’s first ever drivers’ crown.
"I want to win the drivers’ championship and this is the best chance I’ve had and, from where I’m sitting right now, it could be my last chance to do that," said Wilson.
"If I have to do it [use team orders], I will do. If I think it’s safe to do it – in terms of where the drivers are in comparison to their rivals – and I have to do it then there’s no doubt, I’ll do it.”
Ogier was beaten by both Elfyn Evans and Ott Tanak at last month’s Rally Argentina, leading to the question of what Wilson’s stance would be if roles were reversed and Tanak or Evans needed Ogier’s help.
"I suppose that’s the ultimate question, isn’t it?" Wilson added. "I’m sure Seb wouldn’t be happy, but if things turned around and Ott was the driver in with the best chance then I’d have to do it.
"Let’s face it: I had to do it with Carlos [Sainz] and Colin [McRae]. If we get to that position, then it’s a great position to be in.
"Yes, it’s not the best part of the job and it’s a difficult thing to deal with, but it’s a great place to be."