Paddon leads Super 2000 class
Sat, 23 Jun 2012 1:19a.m.
New Zealander Hayden Paddon saw off an early challenge from Sweden's Per-Gunnar Andersson, then had to survive clutch and gearbox problems before ending the day leading the Super 2000 world rally championship on day one of Rally New Zealand.
Last year's production car world champion, Paddon was forced to play catch up to Proton's Andersson for the first two stages on Friday morning.
Andersson started the day with real pace, posting eighth fastest time overall through the Te Hutewai 11.18km first stage in the Auckland-based rally.
He continued to push through the second stage, finishing 10th overall and nine seconds clear of Paddon in 13th.
But then disaster struck for Andersson in the third stage, as his his Satria-Neo S2000 plummeted off the road after a miscalculation going into a right-hand corner.
"It dropped down a steep bank," Andersson says.
"It wasn't far off the road, but it was too steep to come back. It's very frustrating."
Paddon, 25, made the most of his chance, moving to the front of the field and staying there for the rest of the day.
He had to nurse his Skoda back to service in Auckland, however, after it was struck down by clutch and gearbox problems.
Left with second and sixth gears only, Paddon eased his car home where his mechanics will carry out an extensive overhaul ahead of Saturday's second day.
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