If he had previously believed that the world of Grand Prix racing had been tough, Robert Kubica would be forgiven for re-evaluating things having now experienced the full measure of the legendary World Rally Finland for the first time in 2013.

Before the start of the event, the former F1 driver had admitted that he hadn't known "whether to be excited or scared by what lies ahead", with Rally Finland's reputation clearly leaving the Pole somewhat awestruck.

Kubica said that it had been hard to know what he was facing having only ever seen the event on television before, and the pre-race reconnaissance doing little to help him get a sense of how the three days would go.

"It is very difficult to predict how the car will handle by completing the recce runs at low speed," he said. "I was surprised by how much the stages changed between the morning and the afternoon, when there were deep lines. I don't know if it is like this every year, because I have no experience to go on."

Kubica soon had a sense of how quickly Rally Finland could bite the unwary, and he accordingly put a safety first plan into action: "We have to keep calm, because it seems easy to make minor mistakes, which can be very costly."

Even so, he soon had a big scare on the first day: "I was caught out on the first stage in the afternoon. The car was too low. On one corner, we hit the lines and the front of the car lifted and we went straight on and into the trees!

"We then changed the set-up, raising the ride height, and after that everything went well," he added. "It was a good lesson. When you have zero experience on stages as specific as these, every kilometre makes a huge difference."

Once that was addressed, Kubica was able to hold out under pressure from 2011 World P-WRC Champion Hayden Paddon and move into a relatively secure second place in the WRC2 standings over the course of the three days. He was still around 90 seconds behind class leader Jari Ketomaa by the finish, but Kubica wasn't taking that too much to heart.

"Ketomaa told me that he had driven on some stages more than fifteen times in the Finnish Championship," he said. "So it was never going to be easy to challenge him!"

"I didn't really expect to finish second up against so many experienced drivers, but we found the right level of aggression straight away," he continued. "Considering that I only had my first outing on gravel in April, we are clearly moving forward in the right direction.

And how had Kubica found the most iconic of all WRC stages, the 33km run that is Ouninpohja? "It's a wonderful stage," he said, but added that he hadn't been able to enjoy it properly as he had been fighting so hard to maintain his position over Paddon.

All in all, though, he was happy man on Saturday: "It has been a good weekend, a difficult rally, it's not easy to come here for the first time, there are a lot of talented drivers I am leaving Finland with a lot of experience.

"It's not possible to always take a step forward at every rally," he added. "There is still a lot of work to do, because every WRC rally is different and will give me some new experience."