Dale Budge is a sports writer for the NZ Herald.

Motorsport: Thumbs-up for pre-Corsica test

Hayden Paddon during the Shakedown of the WRC France. Photo / Getty Images
Hayden Paddon during the Shakedown of the WRC France. Photo / Getty Images

Hayden Paddon is back alongside regular co-driver John Kennard for this week's Rally Corsica but he got a taste of the future having spent last week with incoming partner Seb Marshall.

The Kiwi WRC star announced last month that long-time co-driver Kennard would step away from the role after Rally Finland later in the year and Brit Marshall would take over as he bids to challenge for a world title next year and beyond and Kennard takes a step towards retirement.

Marshall was in the passenger seat during last weekend's non-championship Rallye Sanremo, which Paddon entered to get some additional practice on tarmac ahead of Corsica.

"It went really good," Paddon told herald.co.nz. "It was perfect preparation. Good timing with the week before Corsica.

"For us, it was really about time on tarmac. It is a surface we don't have that much experience on and just simply spending more time on it is helping is become more comfortable.

"We definitely thought it was the best we have felt on tarmac so it is a good lead in for Corsica."

While the accent was a little different Paddon said the partnership with Marshall went well and there wasn't much of a difference to what Kennard provides. The pair have worked together as part of the Hyundai World Rally Team over the last couple of years and Marshall has been part of Paddon's gravel crew on loose metal events.

"It went really well," Paddon said. "Obviously Seb and I have been working together for the past 12 months so it wasn't like it was all completely new. We sort of knew each other's systems but it was the first time we've been in competition together.

"Everything gelled together without a hitch and I think it will work out well in the future."

- NZ Herald

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