Dani Sordo was 'absolutely thrilled' after he finished third on the Repco Rally Australia on Sunday, a result that helped further cement his third place in the 2009 WRC drivers' championship.

Sordo was in contention for the victory pretty much throughout the marathon 35 stage event and while in the end he lost out to his Citroen team-mate Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen, initially only finishing 4.6 seconds behind the Finn - prior to the 1 minute penalty that dropped him further back - he was still delighted with his performance in New South Wales.

Indeed he set 20 top-three stages time from a possible 33 - two were cancelled, including winning SS5, SS23, SS27 and SS32, and he kept the pressure on Hirvonen right to the very end.

"Mikko was quite simply faster than me today. That said, I am absolutely thrilled to have finished on the podium here in Australia," Sordo reflected prior to the action later taken by the stewards.

"I was in the thick of the scrap for first place from the beginning of day 1 all the way to the end. And while I'm disappointed of course [to finish third], I'm still happy because the fight with Mikko and S?bastien [Loeb], more with Mikko, was really, really nice.

"I lost the second place, but the sensation in the car was good. I finished third but this rally was great to drive, all the time flat out."

Sordo will now be gunning for his sixth rostrum finish of the season when the WRC heads to his home event in Spain next month - and he is looking forward to the Rally de Espana, which runs from October 1-4.

"Of course [Spain will be a tough challenge], [Sebastien] Ogier and Mikko are really, really fast. Mikko on tarmac in Catalunya was very, very fast [last year]. I will try to go fast for sure though and to help Sebastien," he added.

"It's a special rally for me because it's in my home and there are a lot of people who will be supporting me."