Paddon in strong third position
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Paddon in strong third position in WRC Rally Australia
A strong third position but not being able to maximise the first morning opportunities was the story for New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon in the first day of WRC Rally Australia.
Paddon completed the four morning stages trailing the Citroen of rally leader Kris Meeke (GB) by 7.0secs and his Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo (Spain) by 3.7secs.
Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen is the leading Volkswagen driver in fourth place another 3.3secs behind Paddon.
Citroen of WRC Rally Australia leader Kris Meeke (GB) during rally action earlier today. Picture/GREG HENDERSON PHOTOGRAPHY.
Then further gaps of just 0.4secs and 1.1secs position Volkswagen drivers Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) and world champion Sebastien Ogier (France) in fifth and sixth.
It was a very close morning of competition on the Coffs Coast stages.
``I think it was always going to be close between everyone this morning with the road conditions slowing the front guys down. We had the better road conditions but with that we had higher tyre wear,’’ said Paddon.
``We got caught out there a little bit. The soft tyre is probably a little bit too soft for the conditions.’’
Sebastien Ogier of France in his Volkswagen during Stage 4 of the WRC Rally Australia, earlier today. Picture/ GREG HENDERSON PHOTOGRAPHY.
The crews headed into a 30-minute service break at Coffs Harbour before heading out the repeat the four stages from the morning.
``We need to change the set-up so I can get a bit more confidence and we can push,’’ said Paddon.
``This morning we have really just been driving. You couldn’t afford to push at all or you wouldn’t have got back here.
Dani Sordo's Hyundai i20 shows some rear end damage after the fourth stage of Friday morning.
``So we will make some changes now and try and step it up.’’
However Paddon is pleased to running third as he had targeted a podium finish in Australia.
``The result is fine at the moment. I think the conditions and the sweeping saved us a bit on that.
``Obviously everyone else is going to be pretty fast this afternoon so we have to make a big improvement.’’
Friday’s competition is scheduled to finish at 7.29pm (NZ time)