Aussie conditions to suit Paddon for next challenge

Kiwi No 1 Hayden Paddon is looking to improve his standing in the World Rally Championship support class with a win in Australia this weekend.

Paddon is happy to return to gravel at Coffs Harbour, where he managed his best overall WRC placing with a sixth two years ago against the big guns.

“I like it here, I guess the roads are the closest we have got to home.”

Paddon spent yesterday testing his new Skoda Fabia Super 2000-spec car and was happy with the results.

Gaining a win will be tough however, as he will again be the only non-turbo car is his class, so is down on outright speed.

Paddon said that the decision was made to stay with Skoda in 2013 as he had rallied it the previous year.

“It is also a matter of cost, the turbo cars are more expensive to run.”

Paddon said he did not think it was a disadvantage when it came to his chances of stepping up into a World Rally Championship car.

“Those who make the decisions realise the differences.

“Last year we were fast without the results and we have done better this year with the results.”

The 26-year-old said when it came to his future things were smouldering away.

“There is a bit of talk about us which is positive.”

Paddon expects his biggest challenge to come from Saudi Yazeed Al-Rajhi, in his Ford Fiesta RRC.

“He has been very quick in Europe.”

Paddon sits 10th on the WRC-2 Championship table, having missed the start of the season because of financial constraints.

He has, however, impressed with his two third placings in his only outings to date, in Finland and Germany.

The former world production class champion is not disadvantaged with the late start however as drivers can count only their six best results from seven starts.

With 13 rounds to choose from, only nine of the 31 drivers competing in the WRC-2 class have elected to compete Down Under.

Championship leader Robert Kubica is not a starter and only four of the top 10 are competing in Australia.

That gives second-placed Qatari Abdulaziz Al Kuwari a chance to take top spot.

A win for Paddon could see him jump to sixth overall and within striking distance of a top three finish come the end of the season.

The WRC-2 is the FIA’s principal series for near-showroom spec four-wheel drive, turbocharged cars, having replaced the Super 2000 World Rally Championship.

Aussie conditions to suit Paddon for next challenge

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