Paddon glad to see rain in Spain

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 09/11/2012
Hayden Paddon
Getty Images
WILL RACE: Hayden Paddon will compete in Rally Spain.

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New Zealand No 1 rally driver Hayden Paddon is happy with his preparations for this weekend's Rally of Spain.

After arriving in Spain on Sunday, Paddon said he and co-driver John Kennard had a couple of days to take in the sun of Salou, Catalonia, and put their feet up before getting back into rallying mode.

"The last two days have been full-on days of recce, although it was a little easier for this event as we have about 75 per cent of the notes from last year, which is always a good help."

Paddon said the roads were looking great for the rally.

"The dust issues that they had last year on the gravel stages shouldn't be a problem this year, with recent rain and more rain forecast for Friday dampening the roads."

The gravel sections were generally hard based and flowing, although there were some rougher sections, which would get rough, he said.

"The tarmac stages on Saturday and Sunday are some of the best tarmac stages in the world - very smooth, fast, wide circuit-like roads that are a dream to drive on."

Paddon said the team was all ready for the event and the Skoda was looking great with the Red Bull livery on the sides.

"It is also great that our supporters group arrived from New Zealand and it was good having dinner with them.

"We have a lucky prize winner from the group who will be co-driving me on one of our runs at shakedown, which I'm sure they are looking forward to."

Paddon said that after the shakedown, which would give them a chance to confirm their gravel setup, they would go to Barcelona for the ceremonial start in the middle of the city.

Meanwhile, Irishman Craig Breen said he would leave "no stone unturned" in his bid to win a second FIA title in as many seasons when the Super 2000 World Rally Championship concludes with the rally in Spain.

Breen is locked in a three-way battle with PG Andersson and Yazeed Al-Rajhi for the title.

Breen has a two-point advantage over Andersson so must finish ahead of his Swedish rival to be sure of the crown.

However, Al-Rajhi is an outside chance, but with a 20-point deficit to make up to Breen, the Saudi Arabian will need results to go his way. A win is worth 25 points so he would need both frontrunners to falter.

After a great start to the season and winning two rallies, the best that Paddon can achieve is third overall if he can finish ahead of Al-Rajhi, after collecting only eight points in the past three rallies.

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- The Timaru Herald

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