Cordoba-Villa Carlos Paz
Paddon extends PWRC lead at Rally Argentina
It’s been a case of taking a measured approach for New Zealand’s top rally pairing Hayden Paddon and John Kennard as they extend their lead in the production car class at Rally Argentina.
The two Kiwis have finished day two of the World Rally Championship event with a margin of exactly eight minutes over their closest rival Swede Patrik Flodin, while contending with a mechanical issue in their Subaru Impreza rally car which limits the car’s throttle power to about 70 per cent of normal.
Paddon and Kennard, from Geraldine and Blenheim respectively, hold ninth place in the overall standings and have just four competitive stages to complete on Sunday to finish their first ever WRC event in South America. The pair is contesting their second PWRC event of the season and currently holds second on the PWRC points-table after winning the production category in Portugal in March.
After being surprised to take the class lead after an incident-filled first day, Paddon said: “We’d been taking it steady on the first day, nothing dramatic. The plan was for more of a push on Saturday, but with a lead like the one we’ve got, we revised that idea.”
Throughout Saturday’s eight stages, Paddon struck a good balance between maintaining – and slightly extending – his lead over his production class competitors and looking after his Subaru Impreza which has been affected by electrical issues, limiting the car to about 70 per cent throttle since the fourth stage on Friday. Despite these issues, Paddon still finished Saturday on a strong note, taking another stage win on the final run through the 21km Santa Rosa stage
“We’re not sure what it is,” admitted Paddon, after the team first suspected a faulty turbo was the cause. Paddon collected a 10-second penalty out of Friday’s lunchtime service as his Symtech Racing mechanics tried to fix the car. “The boys then changed loads of stuff on Friday night. We thought it was electrical, but we haven’t solved it yet, hence the need to run pretty conservatively.”
Among Paddon’s closest rivals, current PWRC points’ leader Czech driver Martin Semerad crashed on Friday and after restarting under SupeRally regulations, finished day two in sixth. Flodin and Polish driver Michel Kosciuszko have both pushed hard on Saturday, taking stage wins, but with overnight margins of 9:10.1 and 9:36.5 respectively adrift of Paddon, these drivers are hard pressed to catch the top-performing Kiwi.
Sunday’s programme comprises four stages – the first of 48.21km, then repeated runs on a short 3.9km stage and a final run around the super special stage in Carlos Paz to wrap up the competitive aspects of the 31st running of Rally Argentina around lunchtime Sunday [Argentina time].
Paddon and Kennard are in Argentina contesting their second PWRC event of the season. Prior to this event, Paddon was second on the PWRC points-table after winning the production category in Portugal in March. Rally Argentina is based in Carlos Paz, a town 700km northwest of Buenos Aires near Argentina’s second-largest city Cordoba.
Paddon would like to thank the continued support he gets from his loyal partners, which include Subaru New Zealand, EDL Fasteners, CR Properties, 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.
-source: hayden paddon pr