Rally de Portugal
Paddon extends production category lead in Rally Portugal
The New Zealand World Rally Team crew of Hayden Paddon and John Kennard has extended their lead in the production car category of Rally Portugal. The Kiwis hold a comfortable 6 minute, 35 second advantage over their nearest competitor Mexican Benito Guerra after day two’s competition is complete.
Having finished the first day with a 33 second lead after winning five of the six stages, Paddon continued to dominate on day two. The 23-year-old from Geraldine won all three morning stages and, on the afternoon’s repeat loop, eased back slightly to finish each stage in second place while continuing to extend his overall lead.
At the lunchtime service break, Paddon said: “We were pushing on the first two stages and built a good lead. But the roads get much rougher on the second runs so we’re going to take it easy this afternoon to protect our lead.”
Having completed his game plan perfectly to successfully finish the day in the lead, Paddon also improved his overall standing to 11th.
Saturday’s route was the longest of the rally, covering 148.1 competitive kilometres in the hills above the Algarve coastline in southern Portugal. Overnight rain dampened the gravel roads initially, but they dried and made dust an issue for some competitors through the day.
Paddon and Kennard have just four more competitive stages to complete on Sunday; two stages repeated.
The pair is competing in their brand-new Subaru Impreza WRX STI in the first of their 2011 Production World Rally Championship events. From Portugal, the two-time New Zealand rally champions head home to contest Rally Otago, then to Argentina, Whangarei, Finland, Australia, Spain and Great Britain. As well as gunning for the PWRC championship title, Paddon is tackling the New Zealand Rally Championship with his entry for two rounds confirmed and funding being sought to do more.
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