PADDON: WIN NOT POSSIBLE IN MEXICO DAVID EVANS
GROUP RALLYING EDITOR “A drivers’ association makes sense”
Hayden Paddon has ruled himself out of a possible win on the next two rounds of the World Rally Championship.
Hyundai’s high-flying Kiwi says his target for this season remains the European gravel rallies. Paddon was testing the i20 WRC in Spain last weekend, finalising his set-up for next week’s Rally Mexico and trying to find more confidence from the front of the car.
“The test went well,” he said. “We have found a good set-up [for Mexico]. I needed to work on the front axle, to find the settings which would give me more confidence and precision with the car.”
Paddon admitted his second place in Sweden earlier this month has further developed his confidence.
“I was really pleased with what we did in Sweden,” he said. “Last year, I got demoralised and lost more time, but this time I was able to press the reset button and not get down in the dumps about things – that helped me mentally.
“For me, the focus is still on European gravel rallies. In the next two events, I want to progress what we have been doing and then make sure when it comes to Portugal we’re fighting at the front.”
Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan said Paddon’s pace on his first time in the New Generation i20 came as no surprise, even though his team-mates have struggled.
Nandan said: “He was one of the drivers who was immediately feeling confident and comfortable in the new car. With the other two [drivers, Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo], we had to work a bit more with the car. What he wants is to have the front of the car which he can trust and he feels safe. We are working on that with a bit of compromise in everything, but mainly the diff and damper settings. We have done that at the test in Spain and it’s helped him.”
Paddon is short on experience of the Americas; last year was his first appearance in Mexico and his second in Argentina.