Paddon improves in Welsh rally
Sun, 16 Sep 2012 8:53p.m.
After a first day dogged by mechanical problems, New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon won a morale-boosting four of the seven stages on day two of Wales Rally GB overnight (NZT).
Electrical and gearbox issues meant he completed only three of the opening six stages, but overnight repairs meant Paddon's Skoda was much more competitive in the Super 2000 world rally championship class on the second day.
Paddon and co-driver John Kennard clocked 11min 14.2sec for the day's opening stage over 19.5km, more than eight seconds faster than SWRC leader Per-Gunnar Andersson.
Paddon went on to win the SWRC category in each of the next three stages.
A Wales Rally GB win is unlikely as he trails overnight class leader Craig Breen by over 20 minutes, so Paddon is focusing on matching Sebastien Ogier, the French star who drives a similar Skoda Fabia S2000.
While his pace put him at or near the top of the SWRC competitors all day, Paddon wasn't able to set times as close to Ogier's as he'd have liked.
"We were struggling for a bit of confidence in the car in the bumpier sections," he said.
"When the surface is smooth, the car is perfect; it's just some of the other areas that we need to keep working on."
Paddon's consistent run on Saturday's seven stages saw him regularly set stage times ranking him around 15th overall.
Although he is out of contention for a podium position at this event, Paddon is still in with a chance to take out the overall championship which has two rounds to go in France and Spain in October and November respectively.
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