Paddon starts strong in Finland
Fri, 03 Aug 2012 11:33a.m.
New Zealanders Hayden Paddon and John Kennard faded slightly after a storming start in the Super 2000 class on the opening special stage of Rally Finland overnight (NZT).
Paddon and Kennard belted into an early lead with a 7min 15.2sec win in the 13.68km stage, but could only manage fourth in the 2km second stage before lifting to second in the third and final stage of the day.
Local driver and new SWRC entrant Esapekka Lappi in a Ford Fiesta, has the overnight lead in the SWRC category, 1.5 seconds ahead of Paddon and Kennard, after wins in the last two stages.
Swedish driver Per-Gunnar Andersson is third, 12.6 seconds down on Paddon, while Irishman Craig Breen is fourth.
Paddon says he's happy with the way the car is performing.
"Surprisingly our times have been quite good and they have been coming quite easily," he said.
"The feeling inside the car is quite different and it's taking a little bit of adapting to, but nevertheless the early signs are looking good."
He says the second day of racing looks challenging, taking in over 600km all up, and around 133km of special stages but he and Kennard are still looking to up the pace and pin back Lappi's lead.
"There's a lot more jumps and softer surfaces due to a relatively wet Finnish summer so far. We're expecting these will cut up, especially on the second run through."
Paddon leads the overall SWRC table with 62 points, a 19-point margin over equal second-placed Breen and Andersson.
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