With a commanding advantage of 36 minutes, Paddon has enjoyed a technically trouble-free day in the Northland stages, but he admitted he hasn’t been able to savour his favourite roads as much as he would have liked.
“We need to work on the car a little bit,” said Paddon. “I can’t get the traction out of the corners, the car’s just washing out. I know these stages really well and there have been corners we’ve been flat-out through before, but I couldn’t do that with this car. We’ve been trying a few things, but it just hasn’t been quite right.”
Paddon added that his big lead would allow him to make more suspension changes to the car tomorrow in search of the perfect set-up.
Proton driver P-G Andersson holds second place, despite retiring his Satria-Neo S2000 on the final stage of the day. Andersson was back in the groove on the roads north of Auckland today, until he was caught out in the second run through the Girls High School test.
“The car has been great,” said Andersson. “I have the best feeling with it all season, it is pulling out of the corners and no understeer - the balance is very, very nice. On the final stage today, we were going through a hairpin right with the steering on full lock, when we caught a big rock with the front wheel. That rock tore the wheel off and sent us across the road into a ditch. We can still make some points tomorrow.”
The Swede will return for the final day still in second place tomorrow, chasing more valuable points in the SWRC race. Poland’s Maciek Oleksowicz is third with Andersson’s fellow Proton driver, Scotland’s Alister McRae fourth and Yazeed Al Rajhi from Saudi Arabia in fifth place.