Hyundai Motorsport WRC driver Hayden Paddon reflects on the 2017 Rally Mexico …..
It was another tough rally, but there are some positives we can take away, with a top 5 finish and some solid points to help kickstart our season. Although by my high standards, I wanted and expected a lot more.
Rally Mexico is one of the most demanding gravel events on the calendar, with high temperatures and high altitude putting a lot of pressure on the car. That combined with the new 2017 cars meant there were some unknown factors – which became apparent during the first long gravel stage on Friday. Most cars and teams (including us) experienced overheating problems, and we spent the stage managing temperatures to ensure we made it to the end. But by the end of Friday’s gravel stages, despite our problems, we were happy to be sitting at 3rd, knowing there was a lot more left in the tank.
However, unfortunately that was as good as it got. On the short street stage that night, we had a fuel filter issue which caused the car to lose all power – eventually costing us 90 seconds. Not only did it cost us time, it dropped us down the leaderboard which then ultimately cost us a better road position for Saturday. Come Saturday, the team worked miracles to get the car repaired and running faultlessly for the rest of the event, and while I was feeling comfortable in the car, we were strangely missing some performance. This is also one of the slowest gravel events of the year and historically slower events don’t suit my natural style as much as faster events, and this affected us this weekend. This is a key area of mine to focus on for the future.
Despite our problems over the weekend, plenty of good data and information has been gathered to help us for future events. I am also committed to keep working hard to overcome this small ‘slump’ we have been in for quite some time, where things simply haven’t been going our way. I’m determined to turn that around, sooner rather than later, as is everyone in the team.
Thanks to everyone who entered this month’s members-only competition – we have a winner! Congratulations, Jackson Davies! You’ve won an exclusive Hayden Paddon Hyundai i20 WRC remote-control car.
Thanks for all the support and we now look forward to the next event back in Europe, Rally Corsica. We have a massively busy three weeks ahead – keep an eye on your inbox for more news and updates.