Hayden Paddon dropped off the pace on the final day of Rally Sweden to finish fifth in his opening race of the 2018 World Rally Championship season.

The Kiwi driver lost 11 and a half seconds on the final stage to finish behind Finland's Esapekka Lappi.

"An annoying end to what had been a generally positive weekend for us," Paddon said. "It was just a small mistake in the Power Stage, which stalled the car and lost us too much time to defend our fourth place.

"It is what it is. We're not in the championship hunt this season so whether it's fourth or fifth doesn't really matter greatly.


"We have plenty of positives to take away from the event and I am looking forward to continuing this trend in my next WRC event in Portugal.

"I'm happy to have been part of this competitive rally for the team and I can't wait to get back behind the wheel."

Paddon's Hyundai team-mate Thierry Neuville has the won rally, with his other team-mate, Andreas Mikkelsen, finishing third.

Irishman Craig Breen was second in a Citroen.

Neuville takes over the lead of the world championship as a result.

New Zealand's David Holder finished 45th in his Junior WRC debut.

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