Steady start in Finland for Paddon and Kennard

Hayden Paddon remains focused on core goals of finishing the event.

New Zealand rally duo Hayden Paddon and John Kennard hold a steady tenth place overall following the opening four stages of Neste Oil Rally Finland, their third FIA World Rally Championship event of 2014 with Hyundai Motorsport.

Paddon and Kennard started 13th on the road for Thursday’s afternoon and evening stages, with the start order decided by WRC drivers’ championship order for the 16 competitors driving WRC cars.

Paddon described the day as “trying” having struck intense, wet weather, backed by thunder and lightning, on the opening run through the 23.44km Lankamaa stage.

“This afternoon, in particular with our road position, that sudden rain storm that didn’t help and we lost quite a bit of time in the first stage,” Paddon said from the rally’s service park in host city Jyvaskyla.

“But the second and third stages, when the weather cleared up, were an improvement and we’re a lot closer to our team-mates on times, which is where we want to be.”

Stage three, a repeated run of the 23.44km Lankamaa test, saw the Kiwis take 20 seconds off their stage time from the first run to secure the ninth quickest time, just behind Hyundai Motorsport team-mates Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, from Belgium, in the #7 Hyundai i20 WRC and the Finnish duo of Juho Hänninen and Tomi Tuominen in the #8 car.

Paddon and Kennard completed Thursday’s action with a solid run on the 2.27km mixed surface Harju test which includes a gravel section through parkland and tarmac roads in the heart of Jyvaskyla. One of the legendary Finnish stages, it returns to the event this year after a 16 year absence.

All three Hyundai i20 WRC cars have ended Thursday’s four stages in the top ten overall with local hero Hänninen in fifth place after a strong start to his home rally. Neuville also improved as conditions dried out and starts Saturday in eighth overall.

Paddon adds: “Of course we can keep improving and tomorrow’s stages will suit us better. We’re back on new roads so we’re really looking forward to that.”

Friday takes competitors south-west of Jyvaskyla and is the longest day of the rally with 134.47 competitive kilometres over nine special stages, the last not starting until 8.30pm – although still in daylight. Then Saturday’s route includes big jumps over some of Finland’s most well-known stages, and Sunday’s short loop features two passes over the classic 4.62km Ruuhimäki test, one of which will be the power stage.

Paddon remains focused on core goals of finishing the event and improving his stage times relative to his Hyundai Motorsport team-mates and the rally leaders.

Paddon and the HPRG team appreciates the support of their exclusive partners VINZ New Zealand, PlaceMakers and Pak n’ Save along with associate support from Z Energy, Hyundai New Zealand, Scott Sports and New Balance.

Neste Oil Rally Finland – Positions overall after Day 1

Pos

Driver

Car

Total time

Diff prev

Diff leader

 1

J. LATVALA

Volkswagen

29:17.9

   
 2

S. OGIER

Volkswagen

29:22.4

+4.5

+4.5

 3

K. MEEKE

Citroën

29:27.1

+4.7

+9.2

 4

M. HIRVONEN

Ford

29:44.3

+17.2

+26.4

 5

J. HANNINEN

Hyundai

29:45.0

+0.7

+27.1

 6

A. MIKKELSEN

Volkswagen

29:45.1

+0.1

+27.2

 7

M. OSTBERG

Citroën

29:48.8

+3.7

+30.9

 8

T. NEUVILLE

Hyundai

29:56.7

+7.9

+38.8

 9

R. KUBICA

Ford

30:10.0

+13.3

+52.1

 10

H. PADDON

Hyundai

30:23.9

+13.9

+1:06.0

 

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Series WRC
Event Rally Finland
Drivers Hayden Paddon
Article type Stage report
Tags hyundai i20

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