Paddon and Kennard prepared for WRC Australian shakedown
New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon has mapped out a busy workload at this morning’s official Skakedown stage ahead of the start of WRC Rally Australia.
The 4.89km Hydes Creek stage provides the only pre-rally testing for the WRC crews ahead of the 10th round of the FIA World Rally Championship based at Coffs Harbour.
``We’re planning on five or six runs at Shakedown,’’ Paddon said on Wednesday evening.
``With no testing allowed for the `long haul’ events it’s the only chance to fine tune suspension set-ups and get some idea about the tyre wear.’’
Paddon and co-driver John Kennard have completed two days of reconnaissance on the Coffs Coast stages and spent Wednesday night reviewing in-car video and checking pace notes ahead of the rally.
``The roads are in great condition, probably the best I’ve seen them,’’ he said.
``The new stages are really good but the only thing is they are quite short and there is probably not as much gravel on them as we might have hoped for.’’
Paddon hopes his start position of ninth on the road will give him a driving line swept clear of loose gravel by the competitors ahead -- boosting his chances of achieving a podium result in Australia.
The rally has attracted a field of 27 crews with 11 contesting the premier WRC class, seven in the WRC2 category and another nine Australian teams.
In a late change to the entry list Citroen’s Mads Ostberg (Norway) has withdrawn from the rally due to fractured ribs sustained in a collision with truck during reconnaissance.
Citroen has replaced Ostberg with young French driver Stefan Lefebvre who had been in Australia to carry out the recce.
The change alters the start order with Paddon moving up one position to run ninth on the road in Friday’s opening day stages.