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It has seemed like a long time since the last WRC rally in Germany last month, but we will be sure making up for that unexpected break with one of the busiest months coming up.

Over the next five weeks we have four rallies (including next week’s Rally Legend), three tests and one development test. So it will make for plenty of time on the road and a good opportunity to stay match fit.

With the gap since Germany it has given us a chance to recharge the batteries a little and it was also great to get back to NZ – which while it may sound like a holiday, things always seem to be busy when we go home. It has also given us a chance to evaluate Germany more and give me more ammo to make up for it at the rally this weekend in Corsica.

We have still been doing plenty of driving however, with two tests (one in Spain and one in Corsica) and a two-day 2017 car test in Spain means we have been keeping fresh.

Everyone’s first question at the moment is how the 2017 car is progressing, and while we are still in the development phase, I can say that it will add spice to the championship next year for both the drivers and spectators.

The two recent tarmac tests have also been very successful with our main focus not necessarily on extracting maximum performance from the car, but to get myself more comfortable in the car. The team has worked closely with me to help focus on these areas and I can say I am now more confident in the car than I was pre-Germany.

When I say comfort there are two key areas for me on tarmac to have full confidence to drive – one is that the car will stop while not locking the brakes and secondly that the rear has a lot of grip and you have full faith that it will ‘stay’ and not snap sideways.

Despite the successful testing the goal for the tarmac rallies remains the same – at this stage of my career I need to accumulate as much experience and miles on tarmac to help me for the future. So finishing is key, and to continue to get closer to the leaders. Last time here in Corsica we had some competitive times so I think this rally naturally suits me better compared to Germany.

Corsica is rich in rally history, and despite this only being the second year it has been back in the WRC of recent years, it is still one of the most challenging rallies. It’s not called the rally of 10,000 corners for nothing – in fact I would call that an understatement. It’s corner after corner after corner. The challenging factor with that is that it is harder to recall stages compared to others as everything looks very similar, so there is even more emphasis on the pace notes here.

Finally, for all those competitors out there in New Zealand and Australia, just recently we were pleased to announce that we are now the distributors for Extreme Racing Shox, the same suspension used in both the Hyundai WRC cars and what we used in the NZ AP4 car.

It is a cut above the rest utilising WRC technology in what is four-way adjustable dampers. They can be made available for any car.

Looking forward to the rally and, like always, you can follow us throughout the weekend by finding all our social media links at www.haydenpaddon.com

- Hayden

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