Kiwi rally stars Hayden Paddon and John Kennard made it through another tough day of WRC competition, their hopes of a good run at Rally Sweden dashed by a power steering failure in their #4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC soon after the start line of Saturday's (CET) opening special stage.
Paddon had to wrestle the car through three special stages before the mid-leg service. "It felt like an extended gym session, or wrestling a lion - and coming off second best! To make it through the loop was an achievement in itself," he said.
The resultant time loss dropped them down to tenth overall at the end of the morning. With the cancellation of stage 12 for safety reasons, the Kiwis had two snow stages, plus the super special at the Karlstad Arena to navigate - they managed to move into seventh by the day's end.
Paddon said: "A trying day today. We really struggled this morning when the power steering failed near the start of the first stage. Trying to manhandle a WRC car through a whole morning was certainly one of difficult, physical things I've had to do. These cars are not made to be driven with no power steering so we dropped a lot of time. This afternoon we were hoping to pick up the pieces, unfortunately things are not quite working. We have to look at the data to actually see what's going on because at the moment we're not quite sure, but it sums up the weekend so far. It's just been a lot of disappointment. Nevertheless, there's still one day to go and we'll try and finish on a positive note, and take away some information tonight so we can finish on a strong pace tomorrow."
With a new running order for WRC events in place in 2017 - reverse rally classification order, followed by Rally 2 restarters - the Kiwis started Saturday sixth on the road.
Sunday's itinerary of just three stages wraps up the 2017 edition of Rally Sweden, with the rally-concluding power stage including the bonus of five extra points up for grabs for the top-five fastest drivers.