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Hayden Paddon and his World Rally Championship rivals are struggling with unexpectedly high tyre wear during this morning’s opening stages of WRC Rally Australia.
The new stages to the southwest of Coffs Harbour have proved abrasive, particularly for all the Volkswagen, Citroen and Hyundai drivers who chose to use the softer compound tyres.
It’s become a race of tyre management ahead of the fourth and longest stage of the morning, the 29.51km Newry Long stage.
Hyundai’s Dani Sordo has won the three stages this morning and leads the rally by 7.0secs from Paddon who has a margin of just 0.9secs over Citroen’s Kris Meeke.
At the end of stage three Paddon said he was conserving his tyres for the long fourth stage before the cars return to the Coffs Harbour Service Park.
``I'm in tyre management mode at the moment,’’ Paddon told World Rally Radio at the finish of stage three.
``I can't push to attack. I can't even give it full throttle and I'm short-shifting to try and stop wheelspin. Hard tyres would have been better. These new stages have caught us out.’’
The cars are due back at Coffs Harbour at 1.52pm (NZ time) for a 30-minute service break.