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Hayden Paddon improves in Rally Finland

NZN 30/07/2016

Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon sits a solid sixth after the first full day of Rally Finland.

Paddon initially struggled for grip on the forest gravel roads, but gradually came to terms with his Hyundai i20 WRC's capabilities.

The 29-year-old New Zealander's best finishes of the day were four fifth placings, leaving him nearly a minute down on race leader Kris Meeke of Northern Ireland.

Meeke (Citroen) leads second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen) by 18.1 seconds, with Paddon's Hyundai teammate Thierry Neuville a further 26.2 back.

WRC leader Sebastien Ogier was third until he slid his Volkswagen Polo R into a ditch three stages from the end and dropped 16 minutes.

Paddon admitted the day had been disappointing, but was hopeful of a stronger effort on Sunday (NZT).

"It's been a disappointing day, but if you take the top two out of the equation we're not too far off," he said.

"Not every day can be great - it just hasn't happened for us today."

Paddon and co-driver John Kennard are third in the World Rally Championship standings and hope to improve their fortunes at the eighth-round event which they rate among their favourites.

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