Hayden Paddon up to sixth as Neuville leads Rally Sweden

By Dale Budge

Thierry Neuville leads Rally Sweden after the first full day of action. Photo / Red Bull Media
Thierry Neuville leads Rally Sweden after the first full day of action. Photo / Red Bull Media

Kiwi Hayden Paddon has moved up to sixth on day one of Rally Sweden, after Hyundai team-mate Theirry Neuville took hold of the lead.

Belgian Neuville enjoyed a back-and-forth tussle with Toyota driver Jari-Matti Latvala through the day's seven stages, before taking a 28.1s advantage overnight on the back of five stage wins.

The Ford of Ott Tanak held third place - 49.7s behind Neuville - with Citroen's Kris Meeke in fourth and four-time world champion Sebastien Ogier fifth.

Paddon had a sloppy start to the rally in the ceremonial stadium-style super special stage and was slow out of the blocks once the event moved into the traditional forest stages.

But as the day went on, the New Zealander began to find some rhythum and worked his way to sixth place - 1m 17.8s behind Neuville, but well clear of seventh place Dani Sordo.


"A tough day," the New Zealander said. "We expected there to be some challenges this morning. I certainly under-estimated the mental challenge of getting back in car in competition and everything really felt abnormal on the morning loop.

"I sat with my engineer Rui at lunch and we made some changes to the car to make it easier to drive, not necessarily changes to make it faster, just to get some confidence back in.

"The afternoon was certainly a big step in the right direction. Things don't quite feel 100% yet. "We're working on it piece by piece, but the feeling's starting to come back and we're starting to enjoy it this afternoon. Gives us something really good to build on going into tomorrow.

"I think we can start our season proper tomorrow. I'll get in the car with a lot more confidence with a set-up that's working and try to get a bit of momentum on our way."

Seven further stages await on day two, beginning tonight, with three more tomorrow night.

Standings after day 1
1. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai)
2. Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota) +28.1s
3. Ott Tanak (Ford) +49.7s
4. Kris Meeke (Citroen) +51.8s
5. Sebastien Ogier (Ford) +55.7s
6. Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) +1:17.8s
7. Dani Sordo (Hyundai) +1:40.3s
8. Craig Breen (Citroen) +1:54.3s
9. Elfyn Evans (Ford) +3:01.5s
10. Stephane Lefebvre (Citroen) +3:23.6s

- NZ Herald

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