Hayden Paddon reviews the latest WRC round Rally Germany…..
It’s been a busy week as I’ve just arrived back in NZ after getting on a plane on Monday, and I’ve just gone straight into prepping for this week’s Rally Coromandel (a round of the NZ Rally Championship).
To sum up Rally Germany: it was always going to be a difficult one for us – it always has been. The major aspect that sets this rally apart from other tarmac events is the inconsistency of the track and ever-changing grip levels. This was magnified this year, with heavy rain during the Friday afternoon stages turning them into a mud bath. This knocked us substantially off-pace. But it was more important to me to finish this rally, rather than take risks and potentially end up off the road – you know, after the season we’ve had to date.
We finished in P8. Not the best result – but the main time loss come from two punctures (one on Friday, and one on Saturday). Between these we lost almost three minutes, and without that time loss we would’ve been fighting for a top five position. Both punctures were a mystery as we didn’t hit anything or go wide anywhere – but that’s been a bit of a theme this year.
One positive is that before the rally, Seb and I spent some time in the workshop practicing a puncture change procedure where we were able to get the tyre change down to 49 seconds. Of course, in rally conditions it’s a bit different, but on Saturday from the time we stopped the car, to the time we were moving again (belted in etc) it was one minute, 25 seconds.
There were other positives too. On the drier Saturday and Sunday, we were A LOT more competitive than what we were in this rally last year. This is very important as it showed our tarmac driving has progressed. We set several top three stage times, many top three splits and even some fastest splits. So, this is something we can take a lot of encouragement from.
But, overall, it was a difficult weekend for the team, with both our teammates retiring. But nevertheless, with three rallies left this year, we will not give up on the manufacturer’s title.
Now that we’re back in NZ for the next four weeks, I’m looking forward to doing some local events (Rally Coromandel and Ashley Forest Rallysprint) and several PR events around the country. I also love getting out on my mountain bike when home – and I might even hit the slopes for a bit of skiing.
Thanks for your continued support. I look forward to seeing you at an event soon.
PS: I’m excited to join the Hyundai Auckland dealers next weekend, as part of their first ever Hyundai Spring Sale Event. Held at Ellerslie Event Centre in Auckland on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd September from 8am-7pm, it will be a fantastic chance to score yourself a hot deal on a new Hyundai. I’ll be there Saturday from 9am-11am, so come say hi.