Hayden Paddon says he leaves Mexico feeling upbeat and positive for his next World Rally Championship event in Argentina in five weeks’ time despite not achieving the results he’d hoped for in Mexico.
Paddon and co-driver John Kennard contested Rally Mexico for the first time over the past few days (6 to 8 March) – the only crew among 14 WRC competitors who hadn’t done the event previously – and after a series of ups and downs, eventually finished 17th overall.
After a spin on Thursday night’s super special stage, a small error on Friday’s second stage resulted in broken suspension and the end of their day. Re-starting on Saturday in 26th position, the Kiwis were on the back foot, running first on the road in the ‘sweeping’ position, and then were further hampered by brake issues in the morning and overheating issues in the afternoon.
Paddon said: “It was a difficult morning as first on the road, but that was completely as we expected after yesterday. I was pleased to have the chance to re-join under Rally 2 because yesterday’s incident was such a small error which happened to have big consequences on our rally. We had to be patient and accept that things would be tricky. We used Saturday’s stages effectively as a test and to learn more about the nuances of this event. It’s not been easy but it has certainly been valuable.”
Despite the challenges, they ended Saturday in 20th position and took some encouragement from a sixth-equal stage time.
On Sunday’s final three stages, Paddon reported they had a cleaner day, making clear steps forward to improve their feeling in the car on Mexico’s unique stages.
Paddon said: “It’s been an eventful rally for us but I think there are plenty of positive things for us to take away. The car has been good. Coming into Sunday’s final stages, I watched the on-boards from my team-mates last night and I learned a few valuable things about my driving which I can now take forward to Argentina.”
Hayden Paddon’s 2015 WRC schedule with Hyundai Motorsport:
WRC Round 4: Argentina, 23-26 April
WRC Round 5: Portugal, 21-24 May
WRC Round 6: Italy, 11-14 June
WRC Round 7: Poland, 2-5 July
WRC Round 8: Finland, 30 July - 2 August
WRC Round 9: Germany, 20-23 August
WRC Round 10: Australia, 10-13 September
WRC Round 11: France, 1-4 October
WRC Round 12: Spain, 22-25 October
WRC Round 13: Great Britain, 12-15 November