Paddon takes PWRC lead after day two of Rally Finland
Hayden Paddon, with co-driver John Kennard calling the pace notes, has taken the lead of the Production World Rally Championship category after day two of Rally Finland. The top Kiwi rally duo has a 54.4s margin over local Finn and wildcard entrant Mikko Pajunen.
Paddon started day two third among the PWRC competitors with Finn Jarkko Nikara leading the category with a slender 0.5s lead over Swedish driver Patrik Flodin.
The Kiwis stormed through Friday’s first 20.35km test to take the stage win with a time of 12:03.1, 8.3s quicker than Flodin. With Nikara out on that stage with a brake issue that caused him to roll off the road, Flodin took the PWRC category lead and the battle with Paddon was on. The remaining morning stages went to Flodin with Paddon just a few seconds slower, meaning the Kiwi finished the four Friday morning tests just 12.5s away from Flodin.
Paddon said: “I struggled to adapt at the start of the day but it got much better and the car felt really good,”
In the afternoon, Nikara tried to regain position with two stage winning runs, but was too far adrift of Flodin and Paddon to impact on the Subaru drivers.
Paddon took the PWRC category lead on special stage nine – his times were still within a few seconds of stage winner Nikara, while Flodin suffered first a suspension breakage and then lost his brakes.
Paddon finished the day with another strong stage win to secure the nearly one-minute lead over Pajunen, who drives a two-wheel-drive Renault Clio R3.
Paddon said: “We were on tyre management mode this afternoon and it’s good to be leading. But there is still a long way to go and it’s going to be tough tomorrow.”
Paddon’s closest rival on the PWRC points-table, Martin Semerad, was forced to retire after a car fire on Friday morning.
At this point, Paddon is on course to make it three wins from three PWRC, but as the 24-year-old from Geraldine acknowledges the third day of Rally Finland comprises eleven stages, so first he must finish in his Symtech Racing-built Subaru STI. Paddon and Kennard must cover 140.05 kilometres of competitive stages before Saturday’s 9pm finish.
by: Hayden Paddon Media