Motorsport: Paddon wraps up season on positive note

Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard finished 20th overall Photo / HPRG
Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard finished 20th overall Photo / HPRG

Hayden Paddon wrapped up the final event of his 2012 FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship season by winning five of the final day's six stages at the RACC Rally de Espana.

Paddon and co-driver John Kennard finished 20th overall, more than 36 minutes behind winner Sebastien Loeb, and fifth in the SWRC category.

Despite Friday's disappointment of getting stuck in thick mud - in the same place that trapped WRC Mini driver Dani Sordo - which stymied Paddon's chances of taking a podium position, the 25-year-old did win the SWRC category in 11 of the 13 stages that he completed.

The majority of the stage wins were on tarmac which Paddon still regards as his least-favoured surface.

"Sunday's final six tarmac stages were a little shorter but still challenging, made even more difficult by the constant threat of rain. The rain never really eventuated to much, but it did make tyre choices difficult," Paddon said.

"We were able to set some more good stage times today, particularly on the longer stage where we took a lot of time out of the rest of the S2000 field. We were hoping to do the same on the repeated run in the afternoon, but unfortunately a puncture stopped us from doing so."

The stage times set by Paddon and Kennard in their Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car regularly ranked them in the top 12 or 15 overall among the WRC cars and ahead of benchmark competitors Volkswagen factory drivers Sébastien Ogier and Andreas Milkenson in similar Skoda S2000 cars.

"We recovered to 20th overall by the end of Sunday. While the result was not the best, we have been happy with our speed, especially considering it has been what I would describe as a 'risk-free' speed," says Paddon.

Paddon and the team at Hayden Paddon RallySport Global now continue to work hard on plans for 2013.

"In terms of our plans for next year, it is still a work-in-progress. I hope that our speed this weekend has helped, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done."

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