Thierry Neuville said he felt Hyundai had gone some way towards showing the potential of the new i20 WRC despite failing to open his account on the second round of the year in Sweden.

The Belgian had run seventh after the opening day of competition but was forced to retire after the opening stage on Friday when he clipped a rock and damaged the front suspension on his car.

Rejoining under Rally 2, albeit well down the order, the former M-Sport driver produced a series of strong stage times having returned to action on Saturday and despite being only 30th at the finish, he insisted there were plenty of positives to take away from the snow event.

"It's been a long weekend for all of the team but one which I am sure will benefit us in the long term," he said. "We have made the absolute most out of every stage possible in order to add more experience and to learn as much as we can.

"We have discovered many positive things on the Hyundai i20 WRC car and I am becoming more and more confident in the cockpit all the time. It is naturally sad that we were unable to complete the day yesterday [Friday] but we have to live with that. We used the Rally 2 to continue today, which meant a big time penalty, but never gave up, even when we had a puncture in the penultimate stage. We have been quick on some of the stages, and were close runners-up on two occasions this week, which shows great work from the team and a lot of potential for the future.

"I think we will look back positively on Sweden as a key rally in our ongoing development."

Team boss Michel Nandan admitted it had been a tough weekend after Juho Hanninen was also forced to make use of Rally 2 but said he was happy to have both cars make it to the finish following the disappointment of Monte Carlo.

"Overall we have had a tough but generally positive week here in Sweden," he said. "We knew that our approach to compete in WRC and do our learning in a very public manner would be challenging so it was just important for us to finish the rally with both cars. We are pleased to have achieved this, even though we had to use Rally 2.

"We didn't have much luck yesterday [Friday] with both cars hitting solid rocks, and we had further drama this afternoon when Thierry suffered a puncture, but this is part of our learning. We have seen some good times from both crews."

While neither driver scored, Hyundai opened its account in the manufacturers' standings to sit in fifth spot ahead of the third round of the campaign in Mexico.



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