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Paddon finishes fifth in Rally Mexico

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/03/2017

Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon has recovered from mechanical issues at the Rally Mexico to finish in a WRC season-high of fifth place.

Heading into the second day's super special stages in third, the 29-year-old Paddon and co-driver John Kennard suffered technical problems with their Hyundai vehicle and slipped back to seventh.

Hyundai teammates Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo also suffered issues.

But after mechanics worked on the vehicles for much of Friday night, Paddon was able to claw his way back to fifth over six gravel stages on Saturday.

He then failed to improve his placing on Sunday's final day of action in Leon, with further technical issues forcing him to settle for fifth.

Neuville, meanwhile, claimed Hyundai's first podium finish of the season by snatching third place and the power stage win.

Sordo finished in eighth place.

Paddon said that despite throwing away a podium finish, he and Kennard would focus on the upside of the situation.

"Okay, fifth is still some okay points and we can take some positives away from that," the Canterbury-born Paddon said.

"But it's certainly not the performance level we wanted."

In the first two rounds of the WRC campaign, Paddon finished seventh in Sweden and pulled out of the Rallye Monte Carlo after a car accident that resulted in the death of a spectator.

The WRC will now head back to Europe for the fourth round of action with the tarmac-road Tour de Corse, on the French island of Corsica.

"Obviously we want more and it feels like we're in a bit of a trough at the moment," Paddon said.

"On the brighter side, I'm sure we're going to come out of it soon and when we do, then we can get the results we expect and know we can achieve."

Paddon sits in eighth on the overall WRC standings.

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