Tyre wear takes toll in WRC Rally Australia
Hayden Paddon hasn’t been able to continue his Saturday morning charge into the afternoon stages of WRC Rally Australia today.
High tyre wear and a gear selection issue towards the end of the second run through the 50.80km Nambucca stage to the south-west of Coffs Harbour has seen Paddon slip back from battle among the leaders.
Paddon lost 11.9secs to stage winner Ogier in the second run through Nambucca and has slipped to 19.0secs behind rally leader Kris Meeke (Citroen).
"It's probably the same for everybody but this stage is hard on the tyres and we lost them with about 15km to go,’’ Paddon told Word Rally Radio at the end of the stage.
`` After that I just couldn't control the car. Then we got a gear selection problem - it seems to be choosing them itself. Not the best stage.’’
Frenchman Ogier won the stage to edge into second place ahead of Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland). Meeke continues to lead the rally with a 2.4secs advantage over Ogier.
Latvala is 1.9secs further back and the third Volkswagen of Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) holds fourth - 2.8secs behind Latvala and 11.9secs ahead of Paddon.
The Kiwi has a margin of 18.4secs over Ford Fiesta driver Ott Tanak (Estonia) and remains ahead of his Hyundai team-mates Dani Sordo (Spain) and Thierry Neuville (Belgium) who are seventh and eighth.
Crews are now waiting for darkness before tackling the short Valla night stage which starts at 8.10pm (NZ time).