Haydon Paddon previews this weekends Rally Australia……
Well, what a year it has been! We now look forward to what is effectively our home rally with this weekend’s Rally Australia. While Australia is one of my most anticipated events of the year and a chance to finish the year on a positive note, there is also a little relief knowing this season will be finished soon. But the fire is burning stronger than ever to try and get things back on track. A return to familiar stages with a lot of Kiwi support will be the right medicine.
This year’s Rally Australia is a little different to previous years. While we have used 80% of the stages in some shape or form, this year involves fewer public road stages and a lot more forestry stages. This is a shame, but my favorite stage of the championship – the 50km of Nambucca – is still the highlight and will be a key stage of the rally. What is normally a really hot event is looking a little cooler this year, with the ongoing threat of rain. This could not only mean going into the unknown (Rally Australia is always dry) but could make things tricky.
We have a good road position for the start of the event – starting 10th. We will use this to our advantage to have a good clean Friday and hopefully be competing at the front. This would then set us up for the rest of the event. However, while a result is always a driving factor, this weekend we really want to enjoy the car, the stages, and the atmosphere, while letting things come to us naturally. We have done good preparation work for this event and now it’s a matter of trusting in that work, relaxing and driving.
One of the highlights of this event is always the number of Kiwis who come over to support us. We have our own group of 100 guests who are joining us for the rally, and when combined with the hundreds of other Kiwis that come over, you would swear from the atmosphere that it was a rally in NZ. It’s humbling to have so much support, and it’s great to see a couple of other Kiwis driving in the event, too.
As always, we will keep you posted throughout the rally through all our channels. We look forward to seeing some of you at the rally. It’s time to put the last 10 months behind us, treat this event as a fresh start and a jumpstart on 2018. Let’s do this.