Paddon delivers harsh review

Hayden Paddon has admitted he must improve his early season performance in future seasons to become a genuine title contender in the FIA World Rally Championship.

In a harsh self-appraisal, the New Zealander conceded the opening four rounds of 2017 delivered far less than he hoped in terms of results.

“For the future we have to focus on a better start to the year. The first three or four events each year are our weakest and we have regularly struggled at this part of the season. This is something I have to rectify if we want any chance in the future to challenge for the championship,” he said.

“The start of the season has fallen well short of my goals, but we now have nine rallies ahead to put that right. We will continue to work harder than ever and never give up to turn this slump of results around.”

Fifth in Mexico is the Hyundai Motorsport driver’s best result of a frustrating campaign. He crashed out of the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo and finished seventh in Sweden before claiming a disappointing sixth on Corsica’s asphalt earlier this month.

Paddon hopes next week’s YPF Rally Argentina (27 - 30 April), at which he gained his maiden WRC victory 12 months ago, will offer a way out of his current plight.

By rally end (in Corsica) I was personally frustrated that we were unable to make the impression I had hoped. However, it’s all behind us now as we now go into five gravel events in a row – and all events we enjoy,” he added.

“While Tarmac is a beast we are yet to conquer, it’s not something we have to worry about until August’s Rally Germany. In the meantime, the focus is solely on the gravel and the upcoming Rally Argentina, and remaining in a positive frame of mind and getting our season back on track.”

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