Playing a team game is the plan for New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon at this weekend's WRC Rally Corsica.

The Hyundai driver will tackle his first main tarmac event of the season - the surface on which he is least at home. While the season-opening Monte Carlo event is technically run on gravel, the snow and ice there makes it different to what drivers will encounter this weekend.

The new 2017-spec cars will get their first full tarmac experience in Corsica and Paddon thinks it will take a little getting used to.

"Certainly on tarmac is where you feel the biggest improvements on the new cars this year," he said. "The cars are seriously fast on tarmac and really push you back in the seat. It is a great feeling to have that extra horsepower and extra speed.


"It does change a few things inside the car in terms of how much information we have in our pace notes and how quickly the corners are going to happen and you just have to process all that information a lot quicker.

"Obviously we missed a lot of the stages in Monte Carlo so we start from scratch here in Corsica. We are not here to win the rally - it is too early to even be thinking like that - so this weekend is another chance for us to clock up some miles and work our way into it."

Paddon will serve as a support driver to Hyundai teammates Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo who are more accomplished on tarmac.

"Obviously we are not going to drive slow - we will go out and do the best we can but our main priority this weekend is to back-up Thierry and Dani.

"They are in a position where maybe they can fight for a win. We need to be there or thereabouts so that if something does happen we can pick up the pieces in terms of the manufacturer's points. This weekend is about playing the team role."

The 29-year-old has worked hard on improving his performance on tarmac and he finished second in a non-championship event last weekend in Italy to help prepare for Corsica.

"I think on dry tarmac we are not far away," he said. "The gaps we are talking are so small - we are talking tenths of a second here and there. At this level those gaps can seem quite big.

"I don't think our tarmac side of things is too bad it is just that last little bit we are looking for and that little bit of technique and confidence of knowing how hard you can push with the grip levels and a lot of these things you can't force, they just happen over time."

Corsica is known as the rally of 10,000 corners such is the tight and twisty nature of the event.

It features only 10 special stages but they are long.

"Not so many stages but long stages so you have to look after the car," Paddon said.

"I think looking after the tyres will be key. They simply won't be able to go flat out for a whole 50km stage.

"A bit of strategy and a bit of management but it is still effectively a sprint rally with it being only 10 stages so you can't afford to make a mistake anywhere."