Hayden Paddon previews this weekends WRC round, Rally Italia Sardegna ….
It’s almost time to put the helmet on again ahead of this weekend’s Rally Italia Sardegna. The quick turnaround is generally good as it allows us to stay competition fresh – although the tighter turn around this time has personally meant a lot of rehab work in a short space of time.
Since the Portugal accident we have had to rest a lot and take all precautions necessary to rebuild the strength for what is one of the roughest European rally’s of the year. But being based in Sardenia while in Europe throughout the year has meant I have been able to acclimatise to the conditions and limit travelling. I can safely say however, recovery has gone better than expected and I’m feeling fit and ready for the rally.
Sardenia is almost like a second home now, spending a lot of time here over the last 10 months. We also have some good memories of our very first WRC podium here back in 2015 which would be nice to replicate again.
It’s a rally that rewards staying out of trouble as it has traditionally provided a high attrition rate while the hot conditions make it hard on car, drivers and especially tyres. This year we also effectively have 4 less tyres that we can use compared to last year, meaning tyre strategy will be a key element to the rally.
With our good road position, we are confident we can have a good showing this weekend. But a lesson moving forward from Portugal is to allow a little more margin for obstacles in the road (especially Sardegna) and focus on finishing. The combination of Portugal and Sardegna events have been a real ‘bogey’ for us the past 2 years, so to set that straight the focus is purely on a clean event and getting to the finish. If we can do that and let our road position advantage naturally play its path, then a good result will come. You only have to look at last year for example – we didn’t win any stage on day 1, yet we lead at the end of the day.
We have had no test between events as our Sardegna test was before Rally de Portugal. So we will bring forward with us slightly refined settings from Portugal which we will fine tune at the shakedown on Thursday.
Really looking forward to the weekend, and it will be great to see many Kiwis and Italians here cheering us on. As always you can follow us through all our normal channels in one easy place – www.paddonspack.co.nz