Toyota World Rally Championship team principal Tommi Makinen was hoping that Elfyn Evans would win the Tour of Corsica before his late puncture, because Evans and M-Sport "deserved it".
Evans fought with Makinen's Toyota driver Ott Tanak for the majority of the event before Tanak suffered a puncture on Saturday afternoon.
The M-Sport driver then lost the lead after Hyundai's Thierry Neuville took 16 seconds out of Evans on the last stage of Saturday.
Evans then clawed the same amount of time back heading into the final stage on Sunday.
But Evans suffered a puncture on the last test with 11 kilometres still to go in the stage, and dropped to third place having led for seven of the 14 stages.
"I hope he does it," said Makinen after the first stage on Sunday. "He deserves it. And so does M-Sport.
"It was only our car and their car at the race this weekend, but Elfyn - this one should be for him.
"His time this morning [where he beat Neuville by 16s]... incredible time."
Evans's fightback from the time lost to Neuville was helped by the M-Sport engineers working overnight to optimise his car.
Speaking about his rival, Neuville said: "Elfyn was faster than us this weekend.
"I'm sorry for him.
"They've done an incredible job and they would have deserved to win, maybe more than anybody.
"But in rallying, to win, you have to finish. That's the game."
It was not the first time Evans had been beaten by Neuville on the last stage of an event.
Evans clipped a bridge on Rally Argentina in 2017, which handed Neuville a 0.7s victory.
But Evans has started 2019 with two consecutive podiums, coupled with a fifth-place in Sweden after crashing out of the Monte Carlo Rally, and the M-Sport Fiesta appears competitive on different surfaces.
The strong results come after Evans began work with a new co-driver as Scott Martin replaced Dan Barritt.
"It's pretty positive, yes," said Evans of M-Sport's form. "It's a good start for our season but it's still early days yet and we need to continue in the same vein.
"I'm really happy with the Fiesta on the four opening rounds.
"The guys are working really hard."
Explaining the puncture, he added: "It was a difficult bumpy stage.
"We needed to take risks because all of the sudden, 10 seconds [the lead to Neuville] isn't that much.
"I don't know exactly what happened.
"We weren't exactly setting the timesheets alight.
"From my feeling, we were in the middle of the road and we hit a stone and soon afterwards the puncture alarm went on.
"We had 11 kilometres to go and we decided to try and continue.
"Three kilometres to the end, I thought we were not going to make it. At least we salvaged the podium."
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