Hyundai's Hayden Paddon admits he probably eased off a bit too much in the final stage of Rally Poland, but adds third is still a “great result”.
Paddon held third for most of the event, and early on Friday, was also battling with Ott Tanak and Andreas Mikkelsen for the lead, before slipping back and keeping a watching brief.
With conditions changing though for the final day, he struggled and in the final two tests, team-mate Thierry Neuville slashed the gap, reducing it from 20secs to just 0.8secs at the finish.
“That was too close for comfort really!” Paddon conceded, after taking his third podium of the season. “I struggled in the conditions. The rain made the stages very slippery and I had no confidence at all.
“Our objective today was to secure third position rather than push for second, so we wanted to be relaxed. I think we probably eased off too much. But third is a great result, irrespective of how close it was - just 0.8 seconds!”
Paddon also added that he was pleased with the event overall, especially after his two DNFs in Sardinia and Portugal.
“I am happy with the way the weekend has gone. We've had a good rally here in Poland and it's allowed us to bounce back after two tough results. It's fantastic to be on the podium again and I hope we can do the same in Finland. Congratulations to everyone in the team on a job well done.”
Meanwhile, Neuville felt the issues with his pace-notes on Friday were what ultimately cost him the chance to follow up his Sardinia win with another top-three.
“That was a tough final day for everyone, with some demanding, slippery conditions. We were trying to keep things smooth and clean, just to bring the car home safely in the top-four. Our rally was affected by our pace note problems on Friday morning's loop, which lost us valuable time. It was always going to be challenging to regain that time but we did our best,” Neuville noted.
“I think apart from that we had the perfect weekend and the i20 WRC performed well. Finishing third and fourth gives the team a nice points haul [too], and it was definitely a bonus to pick up a Power Stage point [as well].
“We can look to Finland in optimistic mood, confident that we can challenge on fast stages.”