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Hayden Paddon and John Kennard have secured third place in the WRC2 category in the German round of the FIA World Rally Championship, the second podium position for the Kiwis in just their second WRC event of the year.

Despite a late start to their 2013 international campaign, New Zealand’s top rally pairing tackled the challenging, narrow asphalt roads of the German event, determined to do well. Their strong result moves Paddon into tenth position on the WRC2 championship points-table. Taking eighth place overall against all the WRC competitors was an added bonus, earning Paddon four WRC drivers’ championship points.

With just two stages to run on Sunday, Paddon started and completed the day securely in third, pleased to be the fastest Super 2000 competitor in his Baumschlager Rallye & Racing (BRR) prepared Skoda Fabia S2000. While often very close with stage times to the battling duo out front of Robert Kubica and Elfyn Evans, he was unable to quite match the faster pace of the RRC and R5-spec cars.

Paddon reports: “After the alternator belt problems on the very first stage, to finish third and, surprisingly, eight overall, is a fantastic result and one that we are very happy with. Today we had a drama-free day, just taking it steady with two third-quickest stage times to bring it home and bag another good result.

“In a sense, it has been a weekend of progressions. After the first stage, we dropped to 36th overall then climbed back to eighth. We recovered from ninth WRC2 to finish third. And we’ve lifted from 19th place in the WRC2 championship to tenth from our two scoring rounds to date. So everything is heading in the right direction.

“Naturally of course we would like to be winning but at the same time we have to be realistic that trying to compete with the turbo cars ahead of us on these tight narrow roads was a tall ask. However the Skoda’s handling is very good and on certain events we will be able to compete with drivers like Kubica and Evans in the faster RRC and R5 turbocharged cars. Knowing the difference between the cars, we are encouraged with our speed and times.”

Paddon thanked the team at BBR for preparing a great car and looks forward to unloading the Skoda the team shipped to Australia ready for the 12 to 15 September running of WRC Rally Australia.

In the meantime Paddon and Kennard fly directly back to New Zealand for the 7 September running of the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally, part of the New Zealand Rally Championship, where they’ll be back in their championship-winning Stadium Cars Evo 9.

“It’s been amazing to see a number of Kiwis here in Germany, cheering us on. We really appreciate their support and also huge thanks to all our partners and in particular VINZ, Stadium Cars, Giltrap Group, PlaceMakers, Telecom and Z Energy.”

Photo: Honza Froněk

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