Paddon chases rally hat-trick in NZRC
- 15th July 2009, 8:35am
Going into this weekend's fourth NZRC round, Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa, Hayden Paddon and his co-driver John Kennard have a newly-conditioned Mitsubishi Evo 9 at their disposal and a 27-point advantage over second-placed Richard Mason. Don't think for a minute that this means Geraldine-based Hayden will be backing off and cruising through the 15-stage and 250kms of competitive driving, two-day event.
"We always set out to win rallies and we will be out to build on our lead, not just conserve it," Hayden says.
Having claimed a win at the International Rally of Whangarei last month, victorious in the Pacific Cup and qualified for the Pirelli Star Driver scholarship at Rally Australia next month, he is confident his 2009 aim to increase his speed is paying off.
"We have always targeted this year as a year to build on our speed and challenge for more Rally victories. So far we have been successful but there is a lot of room for improvement. We are all working very hard at making the necessary steps forward and what makes it difficult is that we are not looking for seconds, but tenths of seconds!"
He knows he will have to be at the top of his game as first on the road grappling with the traditionally thick gravel in Wairarapa. Then there's the matter of taking on Masterton's Richard Mason on his home turf.
"Wairarapa is probably the hardest place to beat Richard - it's like trying to beat the Finns in Finland. At the end of the day we have made some good improvements in the loose surfaces at recent rallies and I believe we have a car to challenge for the win."
Hayden credits his team for what they have managed to achieve in the past five weeks, saying there's countless hours of hard work that go into Team Green's campaign.
Unfortunately this season will not see the team continue with the second half of its Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) bid due to financial constraints. However, the goal is to successfully complete the APRC in the near future, Hayden says.
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