HAYDEN PADDON LEARNED SOME VALUABLE LESSONS DURING HIS FIRST EVENT IN A WR CAR AT RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA AND HE’S PLANNING TO USE THOSE EXPERIENCES TO HIS ADVANTAGE WHEN HE TACKLES RALLY POLAND NEXT WEEK.
The Kiwi drove Hyundai’s i20 WRC for the first time in Sardinia and, although he finished 12th, he admitted that he underestimated the challenge he faced on Italian soil and that stunted his pace.
“We thought we’d done a good recce and had some good notes, but once we started using them at speed, we worked out that they didn’t quite cut the mustard,” he told WRC.com. “Sardinia is one of the more important events for experience so I really struggled.
“You don’t really learn until you’ve done an event. We’ve gone away and looked at the onboard (camera footage)to look at the places where we need to tidy up and get things right.”
Paddon believes the thing he struggled most with in Sardinia was finding a good rhythm on the rough gravel stages. He said he thought his pace notes were too inconsistent and that meant he didn’t know whether he should be faster or slower on some parts of the stages.
But he and co-driver John Kennard are looking to bounce back in Poland next week when they drive Hyundai’s i20 WRC for the second time.
“We only failed to complete one stage in Sardinia when the engine dropped to three cylinders after a water splash so we got some good seat time and data,” the 27-year-old explained.
“We’ve got quite a few set-up changes we can make – particularly with the differential settings – but I think it’s also going to be a real leveler going into an event were the WRC hasn’t been for five years.
“It’s going to be a good experience for us because I enjoy writing notes on faster events and then committing to them. I think we can be a lot stronger in Poland.”