Hayden Paddon, the young New Zealander making a name for himself in the international rally scene, is currently preparing for the all-tarmac challenges of Rallye Deutschland (Rally Germany).

Paddon, from Geraldine, and co-driver John Kennard, from Blenheim, contest the German event for the first time when it takes place over the weekend of 20 to 22 August. The top Kiwi pairing compete as one of the five Pirelli Star Drivers in the Ralliart Italy-prepared Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X and aim to add to their Production World Rally Championship points' haul.

Paddon is currently third on the PWRC standings after finishing the best of the production category drivers in New Zealand and third in this class in Finland at the end of July. Rally Germany, which is held around the city of Trier near Germany's border of Luxembourg, is the third of Paddon's six nominated PWRC events in 2010.

"Being our first proper tarmac event, we are very much going into the unknown," acknowledges the 23-year-old double New Zealand rally champion. "Our expectations are a lot lower than in earlier gravel events as the German rally is known for being tricky with the widest variety of sealed surfaces among the events on this year's World Rally Championship calendar."

Paddon says, as in Finland, actual experience on the rally's roads play a vital role. "People with previous experience on this event will be very fast and we are also aware of how the road conditions will change between our reconnaissance runs to the rally itself. In recce, the roads will all look clean, but once the WRC cars have passed over the stages in competition - cutting corners and dragging dirt and stones on to the seal - a lot of corners will be very slippery. So it's not only a matter of visualising what lines we want to take, but identifying where the WRC drivers will cut corners and how this may affect our best lines during recce."

Paddon has stayed in Europe since the Finnish event continuing his fitness training, talking to team managers, preparing for Germany and taking time out to relax. He heads to Germany for a test day with fellow Pirelli Star Drivers on the Monday before the event when he's looking forward to more time in the car on tarmac.

"From my experiences on the Targa Rally in New Zealand last year, I know that I'll have to change my driving style on tarmac to help preserve the tyres and brakes. That is even more important in the heavier Group N production cars, especially for the brakes. As I found on Targa last year, to go fast on tarmac you almost have to drive slower."

Paddon has been reviewing in-car footage from the German stages, observing that each leg of the rally is unique. "It's almost like three different rallies - from smooth tarmac to cobblestone and tight twisty vineyard roads to fast army tracks."

Paddon is seeded 27th, immediately behind current PWRC series leader, Portuguese driver Armindo Araujo in a similar Mitsubishi, while fellow Pirelli Star Driver Ott Tanak, from Estonia, is two places behind Paddon.

"We've never before compared ourselves against the other PWRC teams on tarmac so it's difficult to know where we stand. The primary goal is another good haul of championship points. Currently being third in PWRC points, we're starting to see that if we have a couple more good rounds, we may be in a good championship position for the final part of the season.

"A big part of this event for John and me is also to learn and improve with every tarmac stage we complete. Our next Pirelli event is Rally France at the beginning of October - this is also on tarmac, so we're keen to maximise the opportunity for learning in Germany while also trying to deliver a solid result."

The Paddon RallySport team acknowledges the support of Pirelli, EDL Fasteners, Rallytours, Castrol, Contiki Tours, Paddon, MCA Suspension, Vicarage Lane Wines, Radio Hauraki, Radio Sport, Northend Ford, In-Tune Automotive, All About Signs, Total Automotive, Resene, FMG, Raiseys Nutrition, Endless, 1Group, FMG, Steelplus,?Andar the Front Store, Reaction Racing, Pope Print, Alpine Star by Chicane, Cameron Air & Seafreight and Bluebridge Ferries.

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