Hayden Paddon has teased there is more to come from himself and the new Hyundai i20 WRC, as he equalled his career best World Rally Championship result with a run to second place in Sweden.
His first outing in the new i20 WRC having driven the last generation model on the Monte Carlo opener, Paddon's misfortune there – when he crashed out on day one – allowed him to take advantage of a more preferential running order in Sweden, spurring him on to second by the end of the first day.
From here, he attempted to make in-roads on leader Sebastien Ogier, but though he remained within range of the VW driver throughout the Saturday, he could quite get close enough to put him under too much pressure.
In the end, it was Paddon that nearly 'cracked' after striking a fence pole on the Power Stage finale, damaging the radiator, which very nearly prevented him from reaching the service area required to confirm his result. However, the Kiwi made it back safely to seal second place to match his breakthrough result from Italy twelve months ago.
“I did not clip the pole, I nailed it,” he joked. “It is probably one of the worst stages I have had in my life. Maybe I know why Seb goes for full Power Stage points because when you are in no man's land it is very difficult to drive and nothing seems to happen naturally.
“We just hit this post and did not think anything of it. It made a small hole in the radiator. First thing you think when you see steam coming out, naturally it is not good but luckily we found it was just a small hole and we could fix it. We filled up the champagne bottle with a bit of water and we were on our way.”
Looking ahead, Paddon believes he could have pushed more with a bit more knowledge and development of the car under his belt.
“We had high hopes coming here this weekend with the new car,” he continued. “Everything worked out quite well, we had the road position advantage on Friday afternoon and for a couple of stages on Saturday. The new car is working so much better.
“We really pushed to the limit and would not take any risks because the comfort levels were not where I wanted them to be. I was not in a position to push and take unnecessary risks because it was important for us to get points for the team. Considering all that, the speed was quite good this weekend. I think we can improve a lot more.”
Watch highlights from the final day of the 2016 Rally Sweden