Matthew Wilson says his performance on this week's Rally Mexico has given him more confidence than any other event.
The Cumbrian was lying fourth when he retired from the Leon-based rally yesterday. His hopes of returning to the high-altitude, central American gravel were dashed when he suffered a second electrical problem on the run out of service this morning.
"I'm pleased with the way things were going yesterday," said Wilson. "We were keeping out of trouble, and everything felt so easy. We were setting good times, but not taking any chances. We hadn't marked a rim and we'd gone around everything to make sure there was no puncture.
"I think we could have hung on to fourth. OK, maybe Jari[-Matti Latvala] would have come past us, but there was a long way to go."
He feels he made a breakthrough with getting up to speed right from the start of an event – an area that had been a weakness in the past.
"To be honest, I was gutted," said Wilson. "I'd said that I wanted to get on it faster in the first morning and we did that here. In the past, we've had some real fast times in days two and three, but that's no good if you can't do that on day one and you lose touch with the drivers at the front. Here we were in touch, but then it didn't happen."
Wilson said the extensive testing he has done in the Fiesta prior to the start of the season has helped him feel more comfortable in the new car than its predecessor.
"I always said once we got onto the gravel, the knowledge from testing would help us," he said. "Sweden wasn't a great start, we had a problem on the first morning, but here on the gravel we were able to set some times."
The Briton is now eyeing a podium on the next World Rally Championship round in Portugal later this month.
"Portugal is one of my favorites," he said. "There have been a few issues in Mexico, but the team are on it already. We're going for a result in Portugal. If we can be where we were here, you're fighting with the big boys. It would be good to challenge for a podium. If you get in the top five or top six then you never know what can happen."