Big task for Hayden Paddon, as Rally Australia hits day two
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Australia’s round of the World Rally Championship travels south from its Coffs Harbour headquarters this morning for the second leg of competition.
The biggest challenge of the day arrives comes first up with crews tackling the 48.89km Nambucca test which is considered to be the signature stage of the Australian event.
The crews depart from the Coffs Stadium service park at 8am (NZ time) and the morning loop comprises Nambucca, the 20.87km Newry stage and a 1.37km super special stage at a local rallycross track.
The 30-minute service back in Coffs Harbour is at 12.49pm (NZ time) and the afternoon schedule brings a new variation to the Nambucca stage – splitting it into two stages.
The first 33.49km section becomes known as Welsh’s Creek before crews race through a 12.24km section which is known as Argent’s Hill. Splitting the stage has done to provide live TV coverage of the second section.
The repeat run through Newry completes the gravel road portion of the day with rally returning to Coffs Harbour for two more runs through the beachfront Destination NSW super special stage. In total there is 140km of competitive driving on Saturday.
Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen gained a commanding lead yesterday winning five of the six gravel stages to build a lead of 20.9secs.
By winning both of the Friday super stages Thierry Neuville edged ahead of Kris Meeke for second place overnight to establish a Hyundai 1-2. Neuville also trimmed Mikkelsen’s leading margin to 20.1s while Meeke is a further 0.7secs behind.
Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala is fourth and 29.9s behind rally leader Mikkelsen with a margin of 0.9s over fifth placed Craig Breen (Citroen) and then 2.2s to Ott Tanak (Ford).
New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon (Hyundai, above) was in seventh place overnight. He is 5.2s behind Tanak and is 9.7secs ahead of world champion Sebastien Ogier (Ford).
The other New Zealand crew competing at Coffs Harbour this weekend are Mike Young and Malcolm Read. They begin day two of the rally holding 21st place and are the leading two-wheel-drive competitors with a Citroen DS3 R3T.