Motorsport: Hayden Paddon won't make same mistakes

Hyundai motorsport's Hayden Paddon of New Zealand is airborne during a Rally Australia time trial. Photo / AP
Hyundai motorsport's Hayden Paddon of New Zealand is airborne during a Rally Australia time trial. Photo / AP

New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon won't make the same mistake he did on Friday morning when Rally Australia resumes on the NSW north coast on Saturday.

Paddon led after the second stage on Friday, desperately needing a top-two finish and results to fall in his favour if he wishes to finish second in this year's championship race.

However in an effort to gain a boost over his rivals, he mixed his tyre choices with three softs and a hard on the fourth stage.

The gamble failed as the soft and worn tyres dilapidated, forcing him to half- spin four times and costing him 12.6 seconds on leader Andreas Mikkelsen.

"The balance of the car was not good in this stage," he said.

"We had a bit of a compromise but sometimes you've got to try things that are different."

After finishing the day 23.7 seconds adrift in fourth, he said softs won't be an option for him on Saturday at the longest stage of the rally in Nambucca, where temperatures of above 30 degrees will punish the tyres.

"For 50km no way," he said.

"The temperatures are eight degrees higher around here this year than last year."

Paddon remains upbeat about his chances though.

He won the first stages at Nambucca and Valla last year, where the rally will visit twice each on Saturday.

"(Saturday) is my favourite day of the whole championship," he said.

"The Nambucca 50km stage is one where you can really attack."

Paddon is aiming to become the first Australian or New Zealander to finish in the top two of the WRC standings.

Currently fourth, he cannot drop below seventh, and earlier this year claimed New Zealand's first ever WRC event victory in Argentina.

"To get the win so early on in the year was a big surprise," he said.

"That was always our goal this year was to win our first rally.

"We've got a chance to finish in the top-three at the end of the year which is more than we would have expected."

- AAP

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