Andreas Mikkelsen admitted his relief after a strong drive to fourth place at Neste Rally Finland last weekend.
The Norwegian has endured a torrid time trying to find the sweet spot with his Hyundai i20 and poor form led to him being benched by the Korean manufacturer for the rounds in Corsica and Portugal.
Finland has traditionally been a disappointing event for Hyundai, which has struggled to dial its car into the superfast roads, but Mikkelsen led three i20s into the top seven places at Sunday’s Jyväskylä finish.
“It means very much. It gives me a really good feeling to leave from here with this feeling with the car when you compare how I left this rally last year, being nowhere,” said Mikkelsen, who finished 10th after an opening leg crash 12 months ago.
“Rally Finland has always been a difficult rally for us, so to come here this time and really deliver a good result is pleasing. Fourth place is not really perfect, but at the same time it’s much more on the pace than before.
“Big congratulations to the team who have been working flat out with the car for the last six months to really try to improve it. We are seeing results very clearly,” he added.
Mikkelsen said there was a raft of changes which brought about an upturn in form.
“It’s a factor of many, many small different things but I would say mainly what made the difference for me was the suspension and the centre differential.
“I really felt like my old driving again. I can play with the car and do what I want and that’s a feeling I did not have for a very long time,” he explained.
After the rally Mikkelsen was confirmed in Hyundai’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland (22 - 25 August) line-up alongside team leader Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo.