Kiwi Hayden Paddon won two stages and climbed to third on the first full day of Rally Sweden to give his Hyundai team a one-two-three at the top of the standings.

In his first WRC event of the season, Paddon found himself just outside the top six during the morning stages but sprang to life in the afternoon.

The 30-year-old had the bounce back in his step after a disappointing 2017 and was pleased with his efforts.

"Really happy with our afternoon and two stage wins to claw our way back to P3 - making a Hyundai 1-2-3 at end of Day 1," Paddon said. "Tomorrow is a big day and we will prepare to continue our improvements tomorrow in what is all very close at the front."


Belgian Thierry Neuville holds a slender 4.9s lead over Hyundai teammate Andreas Mikkelsen while Paddon is a further 7.2s back in third.

Irishman Craig Breen is fourth in the Citroen, right behind Paddon, while Mads Ostberg in another Citroen is fifth and less than a second behind Breen.

It has been an unhappy day for defending world champion Sebastien Ogier. The M-Sport Ford driver and Monte Carlo winner is 12th – nearly three minutes behind Neuville.

New Zealander David Holder is 49th on his Sweden and WRC debut.

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