Hayden Paddon press release
Paddon overcomes challenge with stage wins in WRC Spain
New Zealand’s world champion rally driver Hayden Paddon was unable to contest even a single stage of the first day of Rally Spain after an electrical fault with his Subaru rally car. But with the car repaired, Paddon was able to start the second all-tarmac day of the Spanish World Rally Championship event, winning five of the six stages in the production car category.
Following Saturday’s action, Paddon said: “After the disappointment of not getting any stage miles yesterday, the team were able to make repairs to get us restarted today. The problem was the smallest piece of plastic isolated one of the main terminals for the throttle power.
“It took some time to settle into racing on tarmac again, but John [Kennard, Paddon’s co-driver] and I started to build confidence with every stage.
“Our only small issue was a bad tyre choice I made this morning. With everyone else on the hard compound tyre, I thought we had nothing to lose and selected the softer tyre for the colder morning conditions. This wasn’t the best decision and the car was moving around a lot on tyres that quickly overheated. At the midday service we were able to bolt of a set of the harder compound tyres and this afternoon has been much better. Our speed and times have been good, winning five of the six stages from the 13-strong PWRC field here in Spain.”
Rally Spain is the penultimate round of Paddon’s 2011 season and with the Production World Rally Championship title secured in Australia in September – albeit subject to final confirmation by the FIA – the Kiwi star aimed to demonstrate outright speed on tarmac, a surface he last rallied on more than twelve months ago in France.
“The whole focus for this rally was to gain more experience on tarmac and set fast times, and being able to restart today has allowed us to do that,” added Paddon whose successful PWRC campaign has been run by Belgium-based Symtech Racing and his New Zealand-based management team Hayden Paddon Rallysport Global Ltd.
Paddon says the Symtech engineers worked franticly to replace all the related parts. “But it was to no avail as we ran out of time to get to the first stage. The problem was unexpected as the car was perfect after we drove it over the start ramp on Thursday night. Then Friday morning the throttle didn’t work at all!”
“Despite having the championship wrapped up, I was really looking forward to get back behind the wheel and showing more speed than we had from previous rounds, so I was absolutely gutted that we missed day one. Another priority is that we need just one more point to win this year’s Subaru Challenge award and the prize money that comes with it, so it was essential we got back on the road for the final two days of the rally.”
With six stages to run on Sunday, Paddon must move into tenth place to secure the single championship point he seeks for the Subaru Challenge prize. He finished Saturday in eleventh place, having started the day in 13th.
After Rally Spain, Paddon has just Wales Rally Great Britain to contest this season. The Kiwi has the option of driving a different car the season finale and he’s seeking alternatives to his championship-winning Subaru STI to gain valuable experience in a different category of rally car.
Paddon thanks his team, his many supporters around New Zealand and across the world and his valued financial partners, which include Subaru New Zealand, EDL Fasteners, CR Properties, Placemakers, Van Leeuwen Dairy, Milwaukee, Racetech Seats, Castrol, Dunlop, Radio Sport, Radio Hauraki, Camerons Sea and Air Freight, Endless Brakes, In-tune Automotive, All About Signs, Total Automotive, Reaction Racing, Raiseys Sport Nutrition, Chicane Racewear, RallyTours, Alto Lab, Pope Print, Granger Design, Bluebridge Ferry, 1 Group and Symtech Racing for their support with his 2011 campaign