Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard have returned to the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team for the first time since Rally Australia and the pair immediately found speed in their Hyundai i20 WRC in the opening stages of Rally Spain.

The Kiwi crew set the fastest time in SS3 to claim their first WRC stage win but unfortunately in the subsequent stage they suffered two punctures which required them to change tyres mid-stage, losing over five minutes of time.

Returning to competitive form in the afternoon, Paddon embarked on a comeback mission to finish in 14th overall.

Paddon said: “It’s great to be back with the team for this rally. It hasn’t been a bad day overall. We had to contend with a lot of dust today, which made life tricky, but we’ve set a solid pace all day.

“This morning went well and winning our first stage was nice. We weren’t expecting to do that but it’s nice to tick it off the list. We had a bit of a moment in the final morning stage which meant we had to change two tyres. That obviously cost us time but we were still able to keep going.

“The afternoon loop was not entirely straightforward and we lost some seconds on the final stage but we’ve made it to the end of the day, which is our priority and we’ll continue to learn in tomorrow’s stages.”

Photo: Vettas Media


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