Monday | 25 Apr 2016

Paddon preparation pays dividends

Argentina’s legendary El Condor speed test, in which Hayden Paddon blitzed world champion Sébastien Ogier to secure his maiden WRC win on Sunday, was the focus of special pre-event preparation after the Kiwi highlighted it as his weak link.

In the run-up to YPF Rally Argentina, Paddon and Norwegian driving analyst Ole-Martin Lundefaret scrutinised every part of the twisty, rock-strewn 16.32km track in the Traslasierra mountains in a bid to improve his performance.

Their hard work paid off when Paddon crushed Ogier in the live TV Power Stage to turn a precarious 2.6sec lead into a 14.3sec winning margin in a thrilling finale to the four-day event.

“We’ve been working together for a few months, trying to develop my driving style,” explained 29-year-old Paddon. “In preparation for this event we broke down El Condor metre by metre as it was my weakest stage.

“We studied different people’s onboards on WRC+, looking how they got the most out of their driving and their lines. I made one mistake in the stage but I tried to do everything we talked about and it worked well.

Paddon focused his preparations on El Condor

“It was the stage of my life. I don’t normally enjoy that type of test, when it’s rough and twisty. It has one of the slowest average speeds in the championship and we put in a really good time. It’s a confidence boost now I know we can not only be quick in the fast stages, but also the slow ones.”

The Hyundai i20 driver thought he had blown his chances when he conceded nearly 20sec to Ogier in the penultimate test from Mina Clavero to Giulio Cesare.

“That was a big shock. We didn’t have a bad stage but it was very rough and I was trying to look after the car. I thought we would drop a little time but I was surprised to lose that much.

“I didn’t really think we had a good chance in the last stage but we threw caution to the wind. To win it in that way makes it even sweeter,” he added.

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