Hayden Paddon finishes 12th in the Rally Italia
Kiwi Hayden Paddon has finished a challenging Rally Italia Sardegna in 12th place on his debut for Hyundai Motorsport in the World Rally Championship.
Sebastien Ogier's win extended his championship lead to 33 points after a hard-fought victory over Mads Ostberg.
Paddon restarted the rally on day three having been forced out by an engine fire on the final stage of day two.
On team orders he stopped to avoid further damage to their misfiring engine, which was running on three cylinders after a water splash.
The mishap meant the 27-year-old missed out on any individual WRC points, with only the top 10 scoring.
Paddon, however, was upbeat and said it was good to get to the end of the rally.
''It's obviously been very challenging but to get through the stages and get some valuable time in the car is going to help us a lot so we can more forward from here.''
"It's been great to be in the car; we've learned a lot, we've got a lot of data and information to take away from this and we're going to work hard for Poland, an event which is new for a lot of people which will help us. It's been a good weekend all-in-all."
Paddon's long-time co-driver John Kennard believed it was a very good debut.
"It went really well. It's a really technical event and we're here for the first time.
''Hayden's driven it well, he's learnt things and he's carried on progressing all the way through the event.''
On the final day Paddon also managed a top five stage time.
The Geraldine driver had always emphasised his first drive in the i20 WRC car was about seat time.
By driving virtually every stage of Rally Italia Sardegna from start to finish he gained valuable data about the car to contribute to the team.
Paddon's team-mates also had little luck at the event.
Juho Hanninen rolled his Hyundai i20 on special stage 5 on opening day, while Neuville suddenly stopped 4.1km into the 27.3km stage with damaged front-right suspension, but restarted on day two and finished 16th overall.
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