Motorsport: Hayden Paddon in contention at Rally Poland

Hayden Paddon during the Shakedown of the WRC Poland. Photo / Getty Images
Hayden Paddon during the Shakedown of the WRC Poland. Photo / Getty Images

It has been a while since Hayden Paddon felt contented about a day's racing in the World Rally Championships but it's how he felt after the first day of the latest round in Poland today.

Paddon and co-driver John Kennard were third on the high speed sandy roads of Poland after winning three stages to be 10.2 seconds behind Estonian leader Ott Tanak through 10 stages. Norway's Andreas Mikkelsen was second, 6.2 secs in front of Paddon, and Championship leader Sebastien Ogier fourth, 16.3 secs off the lead.

For Paddon, getting to the end of the first day in good shape was satisfying after crashing out of both the Portugal rally in May and last month's event on the Italian island of Sardinia. It's why he said he would take a "back to basics" approach for this weekend's rally in Poland and not concern himself with finishing positions.

"It's been a good day," Paddon said. "It's obviously pleasing to get to the end of a day at a rally which it's felt like a long time since we've done that, so that's very nice.

"The fight's very close. To win three stages today and to be within [10] seconds of the lead, it's all very tight.

"This morning was a good loop for us. Everything felt comfortable and the times were coming easily. Struggled a bit more this afternoon as the conditions were quite rough and we didn't really adapt the car setup well enough. We'll sit down and make a new plan of attack for tomorrow. The aim is to keep going at this pace. We're not prepared to take massive risks. We need to let the times come to us so we just have to make some small adjustments tonight and be back on it tomorrow."

Paddon, who was fourth in Poland last year, was second in the overall standings after his historic victory at Rally Argentina in April but dropped to fifth following his mishaps in the last two rounds. The Polish rally is the seventh of 14 rounds in this year's championship.

- NZ Herald

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