Kiwi Hayden Paddon has finished fifth at the WRC Rally Mexico finishing 3.32.9s behind Citroen's Kris Meeke.

Reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier finished second 13.8s adrift in his M-Sport Ford while Paddon's Hyundai teammate Thierry Neuville was third.

Paddon ran in the top three on Saturday's opening day before an engine problem saw him drop to seventh and lose any chance of fighting for the win. But he recovered well to move back up to fifth and secure some vital championship points.

"It's certainly been a difficult weekend," the New Zealander said. "Okay, P5 is still some okay points and we can take some positives away from that, but certainly not the performance level we wanted.


"[We struggled] with a lot of little things going on - some technical issues today prevented us pushing for any power stage points.

"Obviously, we want more and it feels like we're in a bit of a trough at the moment. It has done for a while.

"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 that we expect and that we know we can achieve. We've just got to keep working hard and not give up."

Meeke survived a final stage mistake where he went off the road and into a carpark. He narrowly avoided parked cars and managed to get back onto the road through a gap in a hedge. He dropped some time but was able to continue and get to the end of the stage to secure victory.

Neuville took out the power stage to collect an extra five points, Ogier, Ott Tanak, Jari-Matti Latvala and Dani Sordo grabbed the other points on offer.

It marks a return to form for three drivers tipped to challenge for the title - Meeke, Neuville and Paddon have struggled in the first two events of the year at Monte Carlo and Sweden.

1.Kris Meeke (Citroen)
2.Sebastien Ogier (Ford) +13.8s
3.Theirry Neuville (Hyundai) +59.7s
4.Ott Tanak (Ford) +2:18.3s
5.Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) +3:32.9s
6.Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota) +4:40.3s
7.Juho Hanninen (Toyota) +5:06.2s
8.Dani Sordo (Hyundai) +5:22.7s
9.Elfyn Evans (Ford) +8:41.8s
10.Pontus Tideman (Skoda) +10:51.9s

Championship standings
1. Sebastien Ogier 66
2. Jari-Matti Latvala 58
3. Ott Tanak 48
4. Dani Sordo 30
5. Thierry Neuville 28
6. Kris Meeke 27
7. Craig Breen 20
8. Elfyn Evans 20
9. Hayden Paddon 17
10. Stephane Lefebvre 1