Symtech Racing and Hayden Paddon ready for their Finnish challenge
Symtech Racing and Hayden Paddon have been waiting for this moment for a long time: the Rally Finland, round four of the Production Car World Rally Championship (PWRC). Finland is a specialised event that firmly favours the local experts, but this does not put off Paddon and his Belgian team. The young New Zealander is competing in Finland for the second time and he says that he is fully ready to take on this latest awesome challenge.
While Rally Argentina concluded two months ago, Symtech Racing and Hayden Paddon have hardly been resting on their laurels since. The team has been continuing its expansion with sales of Subaru parts and development of its in-house Group N Impreza, the STR11.
Symtech's engineer Rui Soares explains: "Group N cars need constant attention to detail when it comes to small changes: this makes the difference between a good Group N car and a top Group N car. For Finland, we've found a couple of new things and we know that the car will be lighter. This last factor will be very important on a rally such as Finland. If you're aiming for the top of the PWRC, it's vital to take every start with the best possible car. And that's the philosophy of Symtech Racing. On the extremely demanding Rally Argentina, ours was the only frontrunning Group N car left at the end of the opening day and I don't believe that this was a coincidence. We really worked hard to have a solid and reliable car for that event. In Finland, speed plays a key role, and this has given us a lot of work to adapt our car as best as possible to the unique demands of the event."
Hayden Paddon recently competed on the Whangarei Rally in New Zealand, where he was up against Super 2000 cars. After three overall victories on the rally (in 2007, 2009 and 2010) he was forced to give best to former WRC star Chris Atkinson this time, finishing 12.4 seconds behind in his grN Subaru. "It was a fantastic battle over two days," said Hayden. "This made it perfect preparation for us to dial into the pace needed for Finland. Of course, we are expecting the quick local guys to be at the front, but I really love the rally, where I was third on my first visit last year. Whatever happens, it's sure to be a tricky event, because we naturally want to be among the frontrunners, but as we're currently leading the PWRC, we also need to think about bringing home some points. I can't wait to get there!"
Dirk Van der Sluys (Symtech Racing): "Our Subaru Impreza STR11 got back from Argentina at the beginning of July, which gave our mechanics plenty of work as they had to go and pick up the car, take it apart, and then rebuild it in time for Finland. Once more though they rose to the occasion and we'll be ready to take the start of the next round with a top Group N car. Now, together with Hayden, we need to work out what the best tactics are to approach this rally. A podium finish would be fantastic for our championship chances."
The Rally Finland gets underway on Thursday 28 July. After a tough route, taking in several jumps and rapid stages typical of the '1000 Lakes', the event finishes unusually on Saturday 30 July in Jyväskylä.
by: Symtech Racing