WRC2 win Paddon’s main goal in Australia
Hayden Paddon RallySport Global Ltd
12 September 2013
WRC2 win Paddon’s main goal in Australia
The top step of the podium in the WRC2 category is this weekend’s objective for New Zealand’s top rally pairing Hayden Paddon and John Kennard as they contest their third World Rally Championship event of the year at Rally Australia.
Based around Coffs Harbour on the northern New South Wales coast, the event is one that Paddon enjoys.
“It is a little different to New Zealand, but the fast, flowing nature of the roads is the closest we get to home on the 13 WRC events around the world,” says Paddon as he and Kennard complete reconnaissance of the event’s 352.36 kilometres of competitive stages before Thursday’s free practice, official start ceremony and first two special stages.
“There are some tight technical sections and the roads can get a little soft in places, but generally this event has roads that I enjoy. The issue at the moment here is dust – many of the locals cannot remember when it last rained, so we are hoping for some rain to help settle the dust.”
Having contested the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally on last Saturday, 8 September, in New Zealand where he finished fourth despite serious mechanical damage caused by an awkward jump landing and regained the points’ lead in the New Zealand championship, Paddon was straight on a plane to Brisbane and heading for Coffs Harbour later that night. Early Monday Paddon’s Stadium Cars New Zealand World Rally Team was out testing the Skoda Fabia Super 2000 car prepared in Austria several weeks ago with the help of their European team Baumschlager Rallye & Racing (BRR).
“Everything went smoothly with the test. We could check all the systems in a car we haven’t rallied before and make some setup changes to suit local conditions. Here in Australia we’re running the Skoda with our own New Zealand crew which is pretty special as we’re all good mates and have worked together throughout my career. The car’s very close to the spec of the car John and I used to secure third place in Finland and Germany earlier this year. It’s cool to have our own team running the car on an event which has been successful for us in the past.”
In Australia, Paddon faces competition from eight other WRC2 registered competitors – the WRC2 category includes Super 2000, RRC and R5 spec cars, and Paddon is the only driver in a S2000 car.
“The main priority is to try and win WRC2, but we have some good competition here who are all in either the turbo RRC or R5 cars. However these roads should also suit the Skoda pretty well and we’d also like to finish among the top ten overall among the WRC cars as we did in Germany.”
Without the budget to return to Europe this season, Paddon is again keen to show his worth with another strong performance.
“Every WRC event we can contest gives us another opportunity to talk with people and prove ourselves. We have no more WRC events planned for 2013 due to a lack of funding. John and I will contest the final New Zealand championship round in Wairarapa in October in the Stadium Cars Evo9 then return to Europe to begin planning for the 2014 which we are feeling positive about.”
During the 12 to 15 September running of Rally Australia, one of the most compact WRC events ever run, Paddon enjoys the support of Telecom New Zealand, VINZ and PlaceMakers to help him stay in contact with his 73,000 Facebook fans and nearly 5,000 Twitter followers. Paddon with the able assistance of his partner Katie Lane produce video clips, audio sound bites, imagery and newsletters each day of the event to keep his ever-growing fan base up to date. A 40-strong supporters’ tour has also joined the team in Australia to follow every kilometre of the action.
Coates Hire Rally Australia gets underway today, Thursday, with a 4pm start ceremony followed by two runs of the mixed surface super special stage which features two cars at a time making a simultaneous start on opposite sides of a former velodrome oval, before breaking out onto surrounding streets and finishing back in the oval. Friday’s schedule gets underway about 10am with two repeated loops of three stages to the southwest of Coffs Harbour and ends with two runs of the super special stage. Saturday features a challenging 50km long test – formed by linking two previous stage routes – over fast country shire roads. With two runs of the super special stage again in the evening, Saturday has just six stages. Sunday starts around 9am with two repeated loops of three stages to the north of Coffs Harbour and the official finish at 4pm.
Paddon and his team would like to thank their partners that help to make their campaign possible: VINZ, Giltrap Group, PlaceMakers, Z Energy, Stadium Cars, Telecom New Zealand, CP-Carrillo, Saddle Hill Quarries, Heartland Potato Chips, New Balance, Scott Sports, Total Automotive Timaru, Coxy’s Panel Repairs, Resene, All About Signs, Reaction Racing, In-Tune Automotive, Racetech, Chicane, Endless Brakes, Nichibo, Choice at Team Ralliart, Andar The Front Store, MCA Suspension, Tyre General, Dunlop, Pope Print, Bluebridge Ferry, ION, and 1Group.