Kiwi drivers' fortunes looking up this weekend
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Formula One is in France this weekend for round eight of the 2018 championship. I think I've kicked that dog when it's down enough since the start of the season, so suffice to say I wish Brendon Hartley all the best this weekend in the hope of keeping Helmut Marko off his case.
I'm looking forward to settling in and watching Scott Dixon this weekend. He's back in the US after having a punt at the Le Mans 24 Hour in the Ganassi Ford GT40. Things didn't go too well so he'll be keen to get back to his winning ways in the IndyCar championship at Road America.
After a slow start Dixon has been in a bit of a purple patch having finished second at the IndyCar Grand Prix, third at the Indianapolis 500, a win in race one at Detroit with another win at the Texas Motor Speedway.
On top of that, he won at Road America last year as well. The Kiwi leads the series by 19 points from Alexander Rossi with Will Power a further 13 points back. For over a decade this open wheel championship has been as close as anything anywhere in the world. Dixon has always been there, or there about, in the championship since he entered it back in 2003.
He and his team are looking really sharp at the moment and he's odds-on I reckon to pick up his fifth IndyCar title.
Closer to home it's great to see World Rally Championship Hyundai driver Hayden Paddon reunited with former long-term co-driver John Kennard. The pair are returning to where it all started for Paddon on the roads of his youth at the Rally of South Canterbury. It's the fourth round of the New Zealand Rally Championship (only been part of the NZRC twice, the last back in the 1980s) and 10 years since they won in an EVO8. This time around he'll be piloting his Hyundai i20 AP4+ machine.
Paddon will be back in action on home soil. Photo / Greg Henderson
Kennard will have his work cut, as will Paddon, when it comes to note taking. They'll be putting together 190 kilometres of pace notes from scratch, so I'd imaging there'll be a few late nights involved. On top of this task, the pair will be battling a few bumps and bruises. Paddon had a high-speed crash at Rally Portugal where he was airlifted to hospital with back pain (released the next day).
Kennard on the other hand, had a hip operation eight weeks ago and reckons he's raring to go, despite feeling a little sore from the extra gym work to get him ready to be back in the car. It's going to be fantastic for the rest of the drivers in the field, and fans of course, to compete against and watch two of our very best rally duos in action back at home.
They are the only Kiwis to have won a WRC event — Rally Argentina in 2016, how good is that?