Young Kiwi rally ace Hayden Paddon has made a solid start to his debut event at WRC level in Italy.
After placing 11th on the shakedown test stage overnight, the Geraldine driver and Blenheim co-driver John Kennard finished 14th out of 21 cars on the opening super special stage of Rally Sardinia this morning.
The opening stage was a short 1.3km blast around the streets of the town of Cagliari on the island of Sardinia and marked the official start of Paddon's debut with the Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Team.
Rally Sardinia is the first of seven events with Hyundai Motorsport for the New Zealand duo. Paddon said it was ''good to finally get into the groove'' and was looking forward to tomorrow's 59.7km Monte Lerno stage, one of the longest special stages of the 2014 WRC season featuring the famed 'Micky's jump'.''It's our first time in these stages so obviously there's a challenge writing new notes,'' said Paddon.
''They're quite difficult roads here, quite challenging with a lot rocks and quite narrow in places, so there's a lot of information in the pace notes which is going to be more challenging, but think we've done a good job.''
''We tried to simplify some of the notes a little bit just because of the extra corner speed in a WRC car. At the same time this event requires probably a bit more information and detail in the notes for the obstacles. So some of what we've gained by taking some information out, we've lost by putting in extra detail for this event.''
Paddon and Kennard clocked a time of one minute 23.6secs for the opening super stage, 4.5secs behind stage winner Mikko Hirvonen, of Finland.
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