Hyundai Motorsport WRC driver Hayden Paddon writes heading to Rally Sanremo….
It’s time to pack the bags for a busy two weeks ahead – now heading for our pre-event Rally Corsica test, then straight onto Rally Sanremo in the R5 and then of course Rally Corsica.
The big news since Rally Mexico as you have probably already read about is our announcement that John will be stepping down as our co-driver after this years Rally Finland. After 12 years together it was a difficult decision to make but not one we took lightly – having been discussing it for the past 2 years. The difficulty was always finding the right time, but as we target 2018/19 as our prime years we need to have an established relationship with a co-driver then.
The reason why we choose Finland as Johns final event is that it has some special meaning for him as it was his first event in the 80’s. It then also gives the final 4 events of this year as a transition period to work with our new co-driver, Seb Marshall from Great Britain. We have already been working with Seb behind the scenes for the past 12 months so are confident the partnership will be successful. John has played a pivotal part in my career and naturally he will stay involved to help us achieve our ultimate goal.
Our first rally with Seb is this weeks Rally Sanremo. The purpose of the event is firstly to get more time on tarmac and is a perfect warm-up event for Corsica, with a similar twisty nature of roads. The competition will be fierce as the local Italian championship speed is very high, but we wont be focusing on the result. The rally will give Seb and I the first chance to be competing together in a competitive rally which will help us enormously for the future.
We will keep you posted pre-Corsica rally directly after Sanremo. It has also been a busy time lately putting the finishing touches on the Hyundai NZ Rally Team – with the opening round, Rally Otago, the same weekend as Corsica. Im a little gutted I will miss it this year as it is one of my favourite events, but our team will be well represented with current NZ champion David Holder driving the Hyundai AP4+. Huge thanks to both Mike and Chris who have been putting in big hours to get the team ready.