Motorsport: Points are fine but winning drives Hayden Paddon

By Dale Budge

Hayden Paddon. Photo / @tWorld
Hayden Paddon. Photo / @tWorld

Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon is in third place in the world championship but is focusing on trying to win rallies, rather than where he might end the year.

The 29-year-old Hyundai works driver is back in New Zealand for an unexpected break after Rally China was cancelled due to flooding.

As he prepares for the final four events of the year, Paddon says he has a couple of different ways to approach the remaining rounds of the world championship.

"There are almost two goals," Paddon told the Herald. "We can fight for a top three in the world championship, which would be great in only our second full year in a world championship, or there is the chance to fight for a rally win, maybe at Rally Australia.

"They are two very separate goals. To try and win Rally Australia from second or third on the road [road position is dictated by the order of current standings] would be almost impossible. If you fall back a little bit in the championship before Australia, then it gives you a good chance to win the rally.

We have to see how the next two rallies play out and see what situation we find ourselves in."

Paddon says the idea of adding to his breakthrough WRC win in Argentina in April is appealing and would be his preference over a higher championship finish.

"Personally if you're not winning the championship second, third or fourth doesn't really mean anything to me.

"Rally wins are important to me at the moment.

"We want to win the championship in the future so we need to be getting in the habit of winning more rallies."

The Geraldine product has had some extremely good moments this season but some disappointments as well. He backed his maiden win up with two DNFs in succession.

"Other than those two rallies that turned a bit pear-shaped, I am pretty happy with how the year has gone," Paddon says.

"I know the expectations were increased a lot after Argentina but nothing changed for me personally. If you take Argentina out of the equation, we would still be tracking exactly as we had planned at the start of the year.

"The last rally in Germany was a little bit of a back step maybe but I'm reasonably happy with how the season has been going. There is still a long way to go with four rallies to go - two on gravel - so we have an opportunity to get back to the podium and build for next year."

- NZ Herald

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