Although that first win remains just out of his reach, Dani Sordo has hailed his 2008 Rally New Zealand as a breakthrough for his form on gravel surfaces following a strong second place finish.
Emerging just 17.5secs behind eventual winner Sebastien Loeb, while Sordo's cause was undoubtedly aided by the problems of Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala, his stage times nonetheless kept him well in touch with the leaders at all times.
Given he could only manage sixth place in New Zealand last year, second place is a huge boost to the young Spaniard's confidence in the Citroen C4 as he begins to show front running form on loose terrain, rather than just his preferred Tarmac surface.
"I'm obviously thrilled to have finished on the podium here. It's fantastic to have contributed to a one-two finish for the team and to have played a part in what has turned out to be a big points haul for Citroën.
“I'm also delighted with the feeling I had here in New Zealand. I still lack experience of this terrain, but I was able to see that I have made progress since last year's visit. My feeling with the C4 is improving all the time and my times are getting closer and closer to those of the top loose surface experts. The bottom line of our weekend here could hardly be better!"
Strengthening his third place in the overall standings, Sordo will now move onto his home round in Spain with an eye on a maiden WRC victory.