Hayden Paddon previews this weekends Wales Rally GB……
It has been a long time since you last heard from me – and not something we planned or expected. But it’s now time to get back in the car with Wales Rally Great Britain this week and boy, am I looking forward to it.
It has been almost two months since I was last in the WRC car and over 10 weeks since our last gravel rally (in Finland). We did have a small one-day test in the wet and mud of Wales last week. I must admit, to begin with, I felt a little rusty. But it’s a bit like riding a bike, and soon muscle (brain) memory takes over and you get back into a rhythm. Of course, as we know, testing and rallies are two completely different things, so I do expect it to maybe take a stage or two at the rally this week to settle into a groove.
The goal is always to perform well and get a good result at each and every rally we do. That’s no different this week. However, it is more important this week to enjoy the rally and the driving, and let things naturally happen. I’m not going to lie – we were not happy about not competing at the last rally, which knocks the spirit a little. But it is what it is and now we have to make the most of the situation and use it as extra determination over the next events to finish the year on a high.
Great Britain is a rally I have always enjoyed and was our first event outside NZ as a ‘one-off’ way back in 2007. The stages are generally fast but the big factor here is that it is ALWAYS wet and muddy and grip levels can be low. Road position plays a massive role, and we have to be realistic that starting 10th on the road for day 1 will not be ideal. But upon reseeding come days 2 and 3, we will be in a better position. So the gameplay is to be patient come Friday. We know the times may not be what my high expectations want – but we know we can make that time back up Saturday/Sunday.
I appreciate everyone’s continued and unconditional support. It means a lot and hope we give you something to cheer for this week. I know there will also be several Kiwis here this week and I look forward to seeing you all.