Hayden Paddon says it is "looking good" for Rally Australia next month, his 'home' round of the World Rally Championship.
The New Zealander took a solid eighth recently in Finland, his third outing with Hyundai in the i20 WRC, and while power steering problems cost him two positions on the final day, dropping him from P6 to P8, he still set some very good stage times over the event – including posting two fifths on the Saturday.
“Certainly it's not the way we wanted to end the rally with [a] power steering failure. But all in all it's been a very positive weekend,” said Paddon.
“We had two good days of rallying on Friday and Saturday, showed some good speed and were able to match our team-mates throughout the rally which is a pleasant surprise. Certainly, it's a very positive weekend moving forward.”
“I've developed a lot as a driver this weekend and learnt a lot about the car. I have felt totally comfortable in the Hyundai i20 WRC and without a doubt it has been our best rally so far – even with the issues on the final day,” he added.
“Our confidence has grown all weekend and I was pleased to have been in the top six; we have shown what we are capable of, but there is much more still to work on and improve.
"It's looking good for the upcoming rallies, particularly Rally Australia in September which I'm really looking forward to.”
Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan commented: “It was a shame that Hayden experienced some power steering issues which stopped him from defending his sixth place. However he has driven a mature rally, very professional and committed.
"We are happy with the progression he has made since joining us in Sardinia and look forward to him returning for Rally Australia.”