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New Zealand's top rally driver, Hayden Paddon, has been asking himself what he needs to do to get a break after electrical problems with his Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car prevented him even making it to the start of Friday's special stages at Rally Australia.

Paddon, with co-driver John Kennard alongside in the Stadium Cars World Rally Team entry, is determined not to give up on the opportunity to demonstrate his abilities at the third World Rally Championship event of his limited international competition in the 2013 season.

"It is bitterly disappointing as, once again, a mechanical glitch has got in our way of our goals," said Paddon from the Coffs Harbour service park. "But we have far from given up - we'll have the bit between our teeth tomorrow and push for some fast stage times to salvage something from the rally."

Paddon and Kennard completed Thursday evening's two runs through the super special stage as the third quickest WRC2 competitor, but already things were going wrong with the team's Skoda.

"The issues started last night on the 1.6 km super special stage in central Coffs Harbour. On the first run, we began losing battery voltage and power in the car and it continued to worsen for the repeated run. We were able to get the car to overnight parc ferme [secure overnight compound], and got it back to the service park for this morning's 15-minute service. The guys tried everything and replaced several key components, but unfortunately on the way to the first stage, the same problem returned and the car ground to a halt before we could even start special stage three."

Having been towed back to the service park, Paddon's long-time service crew swung into action and now have the car repaired so Paddon can restart on Saturday under Rally 2 regulations.

 
"We have been able to fix the problem which was tracked down to a 20 cent component within the electrical system - something so small which causes such big problems! But we are now confident we will have a good car for tomorrow."

Resolute about looking for the positives, Paddon adds: "Despite the problems, last night's super special stage was a lot of fun, especially as we got a big cheer from the crowd as we passed the person we were paired with for the super special stage. It has also been amazing seeing all the
Kiwis on the stages - I am just sorry for them that we could not put on a show for them.

"It's very frustrating, particularly with the amount of mechanical problems we have had over the past two seasons and at the moment we are just thinking what does it takes to get a break. This weekend was quite important to try to help us for next season's plans so hopefully this won't dent that too much.

"All is not lost and I promise we will be driving 110 per cent tomorrow."

Just four of the nine WRC2 competitors are listed in official results for Friday's stages with Ukrainian Yurii Protasov and Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rajhi battling for the top two spots and Venezuela's Alejandro Lombardo a distant third.

Under the Rally 2 regulations, Paddon will be given times for the missed stages of five minutes plus the fastest time from the WRC2 category for each stage. Depending on other competitors, he still has the potential to earn points in the WRC2 championship.

Saturday's special stages features a challenging 50km long test - formed by linking two previous stage routes - over fast country shire roads. With two runs of the super special stage again in the evening, Saturday has just six stages. Sunday starts around 9am with two repeated loops of three stages to the north of Coffs Harbour and the official finish at 4pm.

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