Motorsport: Hayden Paddon on the podium in Poland

Hayden Paddon has climbed to third in the World Rally Championship standings after finishing third in Rally Poland. Photo / Timo Anis.
Hayden Paddon has climbed to third in the World Rally Championship standings after finishing third in Rally Poland. Photo / Timo Anis.

Hayden Paddon has climbed to third in the World Rally Championship standings after finishing third in Rally Poland.

Paddon has safely negotiated the final day, coming home 28.5 seconds behind the winner, Norway's Andreas Mikkelsen.

Paddon's relieved to bounce back from failing to finish in Portugal and Sardinia and is immediately switching attention to his next assignment.

He says he's really looking forward to a rally that suits him more and one he enjoys more.

Rally Finland is at the end of the month.

Mikkelsen snatched a dramatic last-gasp victory when long-time leader Ott Tänak was cruelly deprived of a maiden FIA World Rally Championship win.

Tänak's Ford Fiesta RS suffered a puncture in the penultimate rain-soaked speed test, wiping out his near-20sec lead and allowing Mikkelsen to claim a second career success. He became the sixth different winner in the last six rounds of a hugely unpredictable season.

"We pushed so hard all weekend and with the weather as it was today we knew it was going to be difficult and we gave it everything. It was like a war in the penultimate stage and it was all about luck, who got out without problems, and we were the lucky ones.

Mikkelsen commiserated with the Estonian, having been on the receiving end of a similar situation when he spun out of the lead in Sweden in 2015 in the final test.

"I told Ott before the final stage that I felt so sorry for him. It would have been an adventure story but that's the way rallying is. It's very unpredictable," said Mikkelsen, who climbed to second in the points.

Tänak had excelled on the sandy but lightning fast roads since Saturday and was inconsolable at the finish. "There's nothing I can say. All this and then you get nothing, it's too hard," he said.

Paddon completed the podium in a Hyundai i20, 2.3sec behind Tänak, to end a run of accidents in the previous two rounds. However, the New Zealander almost relaxed too much in the final stage, allowing team-mate Thierry Neuville to close to within 0.8sec.

Jari-Matti Latvala finished fifth, a further 4.5sec back in a Volkswagen Polo R. Team-mate Sébastien Ogier was sixth, the championship leader admitting conditions were so bad that simply surviving the final day was his sole aim.

Craig Breen was seventh in a DS 3, moving up after team-mate Stéphane Lefebvre smashed his car's rear left suspension after spinning into a tree. The Frenchman eventually finished ninth.

Mads Østberg overhauled both Lefebvre and team-mate Eric Camilli, who limped through the final stage with damaged suspension on his Fiesta RS after going off the road in the previous test. Camilli took 10th.

Dani Sordo retired after firstly slamming his i20 in chicane bales and then damaging his rear suspension against a tree.

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