Cordoba-Villa Carlos Paz
Paddon leads PWRC class at Rally Argentina
New Zealanders Hayden Paddon and John Kennard are leading the production class after the first day of the World Rally Championship event, Rally Argentina. The pair are also tenth overall, behind Ken Block in a Ford Fiesta WRC car.
Paddon admitted to being surprised to have the lead in the Production World Rally Championship category after the first day’s six stages on roads he describes as incredibly rough. He has a 7 minute, 17.9 second lead over the second-placed driver Argentine Alejandro Levy, who is one of the PWRC wildcard entrants.
“We’ve simply been trying to dodge the rocks and, during the morning’s first run of the three repeated stages we were taking it easy,” said the 24-year-old from Geraldine who is contesting his second PWRC event of the season and currently holds second on the PWRC points-table after winning the production category in Portugal in March.
Having come through Thursday evening’s super special stage on tarmac third quickest among the production class competitors, Paddon continued in a similar position through most of the first day before taking the overnight production class lead on Friday’s last stage, a 37.32km run through the famous high altitude El Condor.
Among Paddon’s closest rivals, current PWRC points’ leader Czech driver Martin Semerad crashed during the morning and dropped well down the standings to finish the first day tenth in the class. Swedish driver Patrik Flodin showed his pace, taking four stage wins to lead the production category most of the day. Polish driver Michel Kosciuszko also won a stage and led the category briefly. But Flodin was out before the start of the final stage with electrical problems and Kosciuszko stopped on the final stage, leaving Paddon perfectly positioned to take the stage win and the overnight lead.
Paddon and Kennard faced issues of their own – their morning run through El Condor was hampered by having no turbo boost in their Subaru Impreza rally car. With that fixed at the lunchtime service break, the car continued to receive a hammering on the rocky roads meaning the Symtech Racing team had plenty to repair during Friday’s final service break.
At the end of the day’s final stage Paddon said, “It’s one of the hardest day’s rally I’ve ever done. I’ve enjoyed it – it’s sandy and rocky and fast. Bits have fallen off the car, but I’ve loved it.”
Paddon and Kennard must tackle two more days on the tough Argentine roads to complete the rally with eight stages on Saturday and four on Sunday still to run. The Kiwis will start at the head of the PWRC field and are certain to be focused simply on finishing this gruelling event as the main priority.
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