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On his first season in both the Honda team and a front-wheel drive rally car Mark Pedder admits that he felt both ecstatic and frustrated, but he’s aiming to put 2012 behind him as the start of the 2013 season is just weeks away.

“On the one hand last year was amazing, but on the other it was incredibly frustrating at times too,” said Pedder.

“Being a part of the Honda team has been terrific, and it was great to get a 1-2 finish for Honda in the Championship. It was frustrating though that I couldn’t get the best out of the car because I know what it’s capable of and there were many times last year I wasn’t doing the car justice.”

Having spent much of his competitive rally career in turbo, four wheel drive cars, much like the bulk of the ARC field, Pedder found himself having to re-educate himself on how to drive the front-wheel Honda Jazz particularly during the early part of the season.

“The best thing for me was to be spending as much time in the car as possible, but I had a huge amount of dramas early in the season and that meant I just wasn’t getting the seat time I should have been,” Mark continued.

Pedder described the adjustments he had to get used to the Jazz as some of the toughest challenges in his career.

“Last year I was seriously nervous at the start of rallies, I’ve never been like that before, and I knew it was because I still had so much to learn. Literally every event I was stepping into the unknown and hoping for the best.”

“Definitely you’ve got to be a lot more aggressive with these cars than a four-wheel drive, and both mentally and physically fitter. I’ve worked on my fitness over the break and I can say I’m fitter now than I was when I was 30!” Pedder laughed.

Pedder gave significant praise to his new co-driver, South Australian Claire Ryan, the new pairing having to work on pace notes throughout the year to suit the differing driving style Pedder was having to employ.

“Changing my notes was a huge thing, I’d never ever changed my note system in the whole time I’ve been rallying. We realized though it just didn’t suit how you have to drive the Honda, and that was holding me back, so yeah that was a huge step forward for me,” said Mark.

The culmination of all of Mark’s hard work though came at the final Round in Victoria where he claimed the opening Heat victory, the first win in his time in the Australian Rally Championship.

“It was a huge confidence boost, and it came at the right end of the year, because it proved to me that I was improving and it meant I could end the year feeling positive about all the hard work and apply that confidence to the new year ahead.”

“This year is going to be incredible though, you’ve got more competition, guys in really strong cars and teams who are going to be going for the win and I’m really looking forward to getting to that first event and seeing where we are!” Mark concluded.
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