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Paddon ends rally on positive note

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/02/2017

Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon has finished Rally Sweden on a positive note with a third-placed finish on the final stage.

But he couldn't improve his overall placing, finishing seventh overall after technical problems on day two meant he drifted too far off the pace to threaten the leaders.

Paddon and co-driver John Kennard trailed winner Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland home by 5min 31.2sec.

Their Hyundai's power steering failed through the first three stages on day two, leaving Paddon to describe the morning as a "workout at the gym" as he struggled among the back-markers.

However, the Kiwi said it was still pleasing to finish the rally, and learn more about the car.

"It was important to get some miles on the car. There's more to come, we know where we can improve," he said.

Two events into the 13-rally calendar, Paddon sits ninth overall after pulling out of the opening Monte Carlo rally last month.

He withdrew from the event after crashing his car on a corner in an accident which resulted in the death of a 50-year-old Spanish spectator.

Paddon admitted it had been difficult getting back behind the wheel.

"We always knew it was going to be tough coming here after Monte, and I certainly underestimated that challenge," he said.

"To get to the finish, I must admit, releases the pressure a little bit. I certainly feel a lot more relaxed and more back to normal, if you like, going forward towards to Mexico."

Rally Guanajuato Mexico begins on March 9.

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