Hayden Paddon has slipped 13.8s behind Finnish wildcard Esapekka Lappi in the chase for top FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship honours on Neste Oil Rally Finland.
Paddon began day two 1.5s behind the Finnish champion elect but lost ground when the engine in his Skoda Fabia Super 2000 dropped onto two cylinders nearing the finish of stage five. The New Zealander, who heads the SWRC title standings, then endured further anguish when he was momentarily unable to restart his car at the stage stop line.
While Paddon, the reigning Production Car world champion, has so far been unable to replicate the pace that took him to a dominant victory on his home round of the series in late June, Lappi continues to excel on his SWRC debut. “It’s been a fantastic morning but now we have to continue like this,” said the 21-year-old Ford Fiesta S2000 driver.
Elsewhere, Sweden’s P-G Andersson is locked in a close battle for third place with Craig Breen. The Irishman moved ahead of Andersson on stage four but slipped behind on the very next stage.
Juha Salo, making his debut for the factory PROTON Motorsports squad, said his pace notes were not fast enough. The Finn is fifth in class with Yazeed Al-Rajhi sixth and Maciej Oleksowicz seventh.