Paddon tests out the rally track
Wed, 20 Jun 2012 11:05p.m.
By Ashlee Tulloch
Hayden Paddon, 25, is the big kiwi hope for the WRC rally of New Zealand.
Paddon, the 2011 production world champion, is now hoping to knock over some of the big boys - aiming for a top 10 finish.
Country roads are normally peaceful, except for when rally cars roll in to disrupt the silence and fly full throttle over the dirt beneath.
And that's exactly what I did with Paddon.
But as well as taking me for a joy ride, Paddon was burning up rubber on his new toy - testing out what his little Skoda can do.
“You know, we're doing about 15 odd runs today and changing something each time and trying to find that prime set up for the rally.”
And with so many changes he's lucky to have such an efficient pit crew who seem very similar to the crew from the Cars movie.
Co-driver John Kennard has been with Paddon in the fuel injected relationship for seven years, but today I was taking over - in Shaun Summerfield’s suit - pace notes and all.
Considering most people get car sick reading in a vehicle, imagine trying to read pace notes while being thrown all over the show - needless to say, no easy task.
“We go out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of each rally,” Paddon says.
“We'll go out and do a reconnaissance in a road car restricted to 60km an hour so quite slow and we write these sets of notes. It’s basically a description of exactly what the road’s like in our head and obviously we use them at speed in the rally and I’m driving 100 percent to the pace notes.”
Although my co-driving skills were poor, the ride itself was over too quickly.
“That’s the beauty of rally at least it lasts a little bit longer,” Paddon says. “We'll have to get you back in the car again at some stage.”
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