Hayden Paddon well-prepared for high-speed WRC return
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Hayden Paddon should be well-prepared for the high-speed roller-coaster gravel stages of WRC Rally Finland at the end of July.
After a home win on South Canterbury roads at round four of the New Zealand Rally Championship — where average speeds on several of the special stages exceeded 130km/h — Paddon headed to a test session on the fast roads of southern Estonia.
And before the WRC season finishes its northern hemisphere summer break, Paddon will get more mileage when he contests Rally Estonia this weekend.
Paddon and British co-driver Seb Marshall are entered for the high speed Estonian event in Hyundai Motorsport’s i20 Coupe WRC test car.
Hyundai Motorsport confirmed its participation back in February, immediately after Rally Estonia announced Shell Helix as its title sponsor for 2018. Shell is also a key partner of Hyundai Motorsport.
The event has attracted a 74-strong entry headlined by Estonian star Ott Tanak who has been entered in a Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris WRC while the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team will also be in action with Ireland’s Craig Breen driving a C3 WRC.
Hyundai Motorsport will also be represented by young development driver Jari Huttunen (Finland) driving an i20 R5 car.
Rally Estonia is a round of the FIA Baltic Rally Trophy and also the Estonian and Latvian national championships. It’s a fast-paced sprint rally on smooth and undulating gravel roads similar to Finland.
There are 16 stages totalling 146km with the start, finish and a super special stage in the city of Tartu. The stages are short with the longest of the rally being 17.06km and only four of the stages are longer than 10km.
It’s a well-timed warm-up run for WRC Rally Finland, the eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship that runs July 26-29.