World Rally Championship driver Hayden Pddon previews this weekend’s Rally Finland ……
Well the European ‘summer break’ has finally come to an end and it’s time to go Rallying again – this time with one of the most iconic and famous rally’s, Rally Finland.
Rally Finland is one of my favourites of the year. This year is my 9th consecutive year doing the event – and it is a rally I feel at home with. In fact it is the one Rally I have the most experience of, including all the rally’s back home in NZ. It’s that experience that we need to put to good use to be competitive with the locals and try and compete at the front which is what the target is.
Since being back in Europe the last few weeks, we have had a chance to get in some good preparation, first, a single day test in Estonia, followed 2 weeks later with Rally Estonia. I had the choice this year of being able to do Rally Estonia or a one day Finland test – but as we are not doing a lot of competition mileage this year, we thought it would be more valuable to do ‘live testing’ within a competition environment.
Although the road surface was a little different, the speed and character of stages in Estonia was perfect preparation and we fulfilled all our goals of a successful test during the rally. We used each stage to try new or proven things to gather information and ultimately end up with a setup that we will take forward to Rally Finland. We have a couple of small new parts on the car, one in particular that is really helping/suiting my driving style which I’m confident will allow us to be more competitive than previous events this year.
It was also amazing to see how much effort the organisers put into this national rally – with it looking and feeling like a WRC event from the atmosphere, investment and stages point of view. We certainly hope to return again soon.
Now the focus is on a good week this week, and with high temps and sunny weather forecasted, maybe a rally where we can finally benefit from our low road starting position for the first time this year. This event is also one of the closest fought out, often with very small margins between everyone. The key is to be consistently setting top 5 stage times which will put us in a position to fight for a podium position. It’s also a key target of ours to be ahead of our team mates and score some strong points for Hyundai. We will be pushing 100% but also using our head to ensure we have a clean rally – can’t wait!!
It has been great to see plenty of our new team clothing out and about and you can get yours by visiting our online site – www.haydenpaddonshop.com.
We also have the last 10 remaining seats available for our VIP Rally Australia tour this November. Prices start from $1,990 per person for 5 day all-inclusive behind the scenes tour with us during the final WRC event of 2018. For information or bookings, please email email@example.com
Thanks, and remember you can stay up to date with all our progress during this week’s Rally at paddonspack.co.nz
Look forward to keeping you posted.