Rally de Portugal
Paddon leads production category after day one in Portugal
Kiwis Hayden Paddon and John Kennard lead the production car category of the Portuguese World Rally Championship event after the first day.
Paddon won five of the day’s six stages, building his lead throughout the day to hold an overnight advantage of 33.3 seconds over Norwegian driver Anders Grondal.
Paddon and Kennard are competing in their brand-new Subaru Impreza WRX STI in the first of their Production World Rally Championship events this weekend in Portugal. Friday’s opening leg of six stages was run on the hills above the town of Faro on Portugal’s south coast. The 18-strong PWRC field contests each rally stage behind the top tier WRC competitors, with the gravel roads being described as ‘tough’.
“It’s been a great day,” says the 23-year-old from Geraldine who holds 12th position overall. “We’re leading by more than 30 seconds while still learning the new car and making small changes. We’ll be trying to build on this lead tomorrow.”
The start order for day two is yet to be posted on the Rally Portugal website, but Paddon starting Friday seeded in 25th behind defending PWRC champion Patrik Flodin who is currently running 16th of the 18 PWRC cars. The rally continues on Saturday with six stages to be contested and just four stages on Sunday to wrap up the event.
This season, Paddon contests six PWRC rounds, taking the two-time New Zealand rally champion from Portugal to Argentina, then Finland, Australia, Spain and Great Britain for his 2011 title bid. In between times, Paddon returns home to contest two rounds of the New Zealand Rally Championship in Otago and Whangarei.
Paddon and the New Zealand World Rally Team appreciates the support of Subaru, EDL Fasteners, Paddon, Chicane, Radio Sport, Radio Hauraki, Raisey Sports Nutrition, FMG, Resene Automotive, Endless Brakes, Castrol and Rally Tours NZ.
-source: hayden paddon