Citroen privateer Conrad Rautenbach notched up his fourth top-ten result of the year on the Neste Oil Rally Finland on Sunday, the ninth round in the World Rally Championship.

Rautenbach, together with his British co-driver David Senior, didn't put a foot wrong on his way through the ultra-quick Scandinavian stages and he climbed nine places through the duration of the event, having finished the Killeri SSS on Thursday night in 19th in his PH Sport-run C4 WRC.

Having tackled the rally before in a two-wheel-drive J-WRC car, Conrad soon realised the switchback roads of central Finland were a very different prospect in a total traction, turbo-charged World Rally Car.

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The need for perfect pace notes was highlighted to the 2007 FIA African Rally champion on day two when he came close to being caught out in one exceptionally tricky left-hander in SS16 - the same corner which claimed Stobart's Gigi Galli and Suzuki's Per-Gunnar Andersson.

In the end, the Zimbabwean got to the finish, more than three minutes ahead of BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 'third' driver Khalid Al Qassimi.

"I loved these stages when I came here in a Junior car. Now I've driven them in a World car, I want to go back to the start and do it all again," he stated at the finish. "Those roads in this car are just awesome!

"Coming here on the back of South Estonia gave us a good idea of the set-up for the car and the speed which would be needed on Rally Finland. Three days later, I can tell you the roads here are just incredible. I have learned a great deal during the event, but I also realise there's more to learn - it's so much about experience here in Finland.

"The car was great all the way through the rally. Okay, we played with some of the suspension settings every now and then, which helped us find more traction and we had a small brake problem, with some air in the brakes, on the second day, but nothing serious.

"One of the toughest things about this rally is getting your pace notes right. You come through the stages at 60kp/h during the recce calling the crests and corners as accurately as possible, but then you arrive in the rally car at three times that speed and, believe me, things can look quite different.

"One example is a left-over-crest corner which tightened in the Kakaristo test. Wow! A couple of cars had gone off there before us and I'm not surprised. When I started to turn the steering wheel for the tightening section of the corner nothing happened - we were a couple of feet in the air! It was a big moment.

"We've done it, though. We're through Finland, what a great experience. With the second half of the season up and running, I can't wait to get to the Rallye Deutschland now!"

Urmo Aava meanwhile finished 15th in the sister C4 WRC run by PH-Sport, having gone off on day one in SS9. The Estonian had been running strongly in sixth up to that point, and while that incident cost him any chance of points, his stage times were again very impressive. Indeed he set numerous top ten times - including two thirds, two fourths and two fifths.

"We learned a lot from this rally - you have to know exactly what you are doing on these stages and make no mistakes with the set up of the car. It wasn't perfect for us but we are happy with the experience it has given us for future years," summed up the former J-WRC star.