Hayden Paddon finishes second at Rally Sweden

Hayden Paddon and John Kennard during the Rally Sweden. Photo / AP
Hayden Paddon and John Kennard during the Rally Sweden. Photo / AP

Hayden Paddon's future as a high calibre driver seems assured after the Kiwi ace secured the second podium of his World Rally Championship career - but the man himself says he still has important lessons to learn.

The Timaru star finished second behind world champion Sebastien Ogier in Rally Sweden over the weekend in a performance which captured eyeballs and has led to seasoned observers saying he is one of the sport's emerging forces.

Paddon hit a wooden post on the final stage and damaged his radiator, but still managed to carry out repairs with his co-driver John Kennard and wet-nurse the vehicle home to the runner-up position. He is now fourth equal in the world drivers' championship.

"A podium is a fantastic result for me and everyone in the team," Paddon said. "We were hoping to have had a less stressful finish to the rally, but unfortunately we had some water leaking from the radiator after hitting a wooden post in the stage, which required some quick repairs.

"Thankfully, we were able to find a temporary fix and get back to service with our second place intact."

But Paddon was alreeady thinking ahead after his podium finish.

"There's a bit more work needed on my driving and on the car set-up," he explained.
"We're not far away and, for now, we'll happily take second place."

Paddon caught attention on the opening day of the event when he won the final two stages to rocket up to second from from sixth.

He kept up the hot pace on day two, cutting Ogier's lead to just 8.8 seconds in a display that had the normally unflappable triple world champion worried.

His performance drew even greater praise as he is now one of only seven non-Scandinavian drivers to have finished second in the Swedish rally.

His Hyundai Motorsport team boss Michel Nandan was delighted with the Kiwi's efforts.

"Congratulations to Hayden and John - and to everyone in the team for a job well done. Thanks to the drivers' determination, we have been able to learn more about the New Generation i20 WRC this weekend and pick up some important championship points.

"Mexico will be another learning experience with the new car but we can be pleased with our start to 2016," he said of the next event on the championship.

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