Hayden Paddon hoping for Sweden snow
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Hayden Paddon is hoping for a little snow to greet him at his World Rally Championship season debut in Sweden this week.
The factory Hyundai driver hopes a bit of fresh snow will see the leading contenders have to sweep the lines clean for him to find better grip at the second event of the season.
Paddon will start outside the top 10 on the road because he missed the opening round in Monte Carlo (road position is dictated by championship standings) and it appears he could get an advantage as a result.
"They are perfect conditions – we have had a lot of snow this year so that has meant we have quite high snow banks," Paddon told The Herald. "In saying that, while they are big snow banks they are quite soft so they are probably not something we can use a lot of.
"The road base has a really thick ice base to it that is perfect for the tyres. It does mean with the amount of snow the roads a little bit narrower in places so we have to adjust our notes accordingly.
"With or road position we do want a bit of fresh snow to fall because it is a bit like that gravel and having to clean it.
"There is some snow in the forecast for Thursday night. If we do get some then we are in absolutely the perfect position Friday."
The 30-year-old has found a tactic to his liking where you try and get through the first full day without taking any unnecessary risks before looking to attack on days two and three.
But the nature of Sweden, with its fast snow-laded roads and soft snow banks, means he can't be too conservative to begin with.
"This rally historically is quite a flat-out rally. You have to be on it from day one all the way through.
"We have to go at a good pace."
His Hyundai team will be smarting after all three drivers had problems in Monte Carlo.
"We know we have a good package," Paddon said. "It isn't really about proving it anymore, it is about putting results on the board because that is what wins championships.
"Certainly from a Hyundai perspective we should be in a position to fight for the manufacturers' championship this year.
"Obviously it wasn't the best of starts but not all is lost. There is a long way to go and it puts all three cars in a good road position for this rally so maybe some points can be made up here."
Paddon isn't the only Kiwi in action at Rally Sweden – 2016 New Zealand Rally champion David Holder is making his debut in the Junior WRC.
Holder will be greeted by extremely foreign conditions and is getting plenty of advice from Paddon.
"We will keep in touch with him," Paddon explained. "We caught up with him after recce and just gave him a few pointers and few things to look out for – the odd nasty corner or bump that we have found from experience. That is easy information we can pass on and help him.
"This is completely left field for him. The whole procedure, the conditions, the car – he has to be sensible this weekend and drive to finish. I am sure he can do that and I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do."
Rally Sweden begins Friday morning with two special stages.
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