Hayden Paddon ready for challenge in Germany
New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon is more than ready to hit the varied and challenging roads of their next World Rally Championship event, Rallye Deutschland which begins Thursday.
Another podium finish is the aim after the Geraldine driver and his co-driver John Kennard finished third in the WRC2 category Rally Finland earlier this month.
The Finnish rally was Paddon and Kennard's first WRC event of the year and, as always, they're keen to demonstrate their abilities in Germany, their second confirmed WRC start for 2013.
After a productive test in his Skoda Fabia S2000 car on a tarmac stage earlier this week, Paddon said he was feeling comfortable in the car.
"It was a good but short test - just 50 km.
''Our team has a good set-up base and experience of the German rally, so it was really a matter of just feeling my way back into tarmac with the Skoda.
''The car felt great, so I have no doubts that we can be on the pace from stage one.''
Paddon and Kennard contested the German event together just once before, back in 2010 during the Pirelli Star Driver scholarship season, but with route changes, Paddon said they've never done any of this year's stages so it's almost like a new event.
"It's a technical tarmac rally with a mixture of surfaces, from the cobblestone, smooth country roads, and winding roads through the vineyards - it's a really interesting mix.
''The event can also have a lot of isolated rain which makes weather information and the choice of sort or hard compound tyre critical.''
"This was my first tarmac event ever in 2010 and we finished second in the Production World Rally Championship class; now in 2013 it's my sixth tarmac event, so while I'm still relatively inexperienced on this surface, I really enjoy the challenge."
In terms of goals for the German event, Paddon says he's working on a rally by rally approach.
"Obviously we want to be fighting for top spot but, as it was in Finland, that will be hard against the faster R5 and RRC cars. Also Robert Kubica in particular will be very fast, but we feel comfortable with our package that we can fight with them all."
- © Fairfax NZ News