Video: New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon has moved into third place on the FIA Production World Rally Championship drivers’ points-table after a solid performance in his first attempt at Rally Finland
The notoriously fast rally saw the Geraldine-based 23-year-old and co-driver John Kennard, from Blenheim, competing alongside Pirelli Star Driver team-mates in the PWRC category.
Paddon finished third among the 11 production car class competitors and 21st overall. While being pleased to achieve his goal of a PWRC podium position, the two-time New Zealand rally champion admits he’d hoped for more.
"It was a great result that completed our goal of a podium finish on this difficult event," said Paddon. "Other than a puncture in the very last stage, everything generally went well. However, the thing I was struggling with most on the first day was the driving rhythm and making everything gel together with the car, pace notes and my driving.
"Although finishing third in the PWRC class fulfils what we wanted to achieve from this event – it gives us really good points to move into third in the PWRC standings – I do feel a little disappointed with our speed," said Paddon. "I definitely underestimated how difficult it would be competing here for the first time and just how quick the Scandinavians are on this specialised event."
Paddon is now on 40 points after completing two of his compulsory six events in the championship.
Portugal's Armindo Araujo leads the standings on 58 points from three of his scoring rounds, followed by Sweden's Patrik Flodin on 50 points.
Under PWRC rules, drivers nominate their six counting rounds from nine events which must include at least two outside Europe.
The final four rounds in Germany, Japan, France and Britain are where Paddon hopes to makes his charge for the PWRC title.
Check out the onboard footage from Paddon's attempt at Rally Finland...