Motorsport: Paddon on the charge at Wales Rally GB

By Dale Budge

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

It is a determined Hayden Paddon ahead of this week's Wales Rally GB as he can finally concentrate on all-out speed.

The Kiwi Hyundai driver was forced to think about championship results for his team and for himself earlier in the year and the recent events have been on his less-favoured asphalt surface but with Volkswagen and Sebastien Ogier wrapping up the championship at the previous event and the final two events gravel rallies the 29-year-old feels like the shackles have been released.

"We are focused on a singular rally results," Paddon tells herald.co.nz.

"We want to fight to be back on the podium.

"Obviously the win will always be the target but that is very difficult.

"I think now with these last two events with the way the championship is - we have a reasonable buffer to the guys in front - we don't have to worry about out-scoring them.

"We can sort of unleash now and try and get the best possible results we can over these last two rallies."

Wales Rally GB has traditionally been the season-ending event and been staged in wintery conditions with the roads extremely wet and muddy but a move in the calendar has seen the event run over a month earlier than normal and Paddon says that will have an impact.

"The roads are a bit harder and there isn't any rain forecast for this week, which is a little unusual for here.

"You always expect the rain and the fog and the mud.

"There are a still some muddy and rain-soaked sections under the trees but it will be a lot drier and a lot faster than normal.

"It is unknown conditions for most of us because the rally has never been run in these conditions so we don't know how it will affect tyre wear etc."

Paddon will head Down Under to the final event of the year in Australia after this weekend and is looking forward to the Legends of Speed gala dinner to be held in Auckland in late November.

The who's who of New Zealand Motorsport are getting together to raise money for the bid to get Rally New Zealand back on the World Rally calendar and also for our leading motorsport academy.

Paddon, who will be joined by the likes of Scott Dixon, Brendon Hartley, Shane van Gisbergen, Scott McLaughlin, Fabian Coulthard and Earl Bamber, says it will be a special night.

"I think it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for public and fans to come along and to see all of our top motorsport people in one place."

- NZ Herald

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