Thursday | 18 Sep 2014

Paddon's progress boosts 2015 hopes

Hayden Paddon’s career-best result in a World Rally Car at Coates Hire Rally Australia enhanced his claims to a full-time seat in 2015.

The Kiwi finished sixth in Coffs Harbour and has netted four top eight finishes from five World Rally Car drives since making his debut in Spain less than 12 months ago.

His programme with Hyundai this season comprises just six rallies but Paddon is eyeing something more comprehensive next year.

“We’ve done everything the team has asked of us in the first four rallies. We haven’t put a scratch on the car and we keep moving forward. At the moment it’s looking good but we have to keep doing our job and talking in the background,” he said.

“It was a rewarding weekend. We made good progress from Finland and that’s the main thing. We didn’t quite get a top five but with the reliability of the World Rally Cars that was always going to be tough,” he added.

Hayden Paddon - 'talking in the background'

Paddon pointed to the reduced time gap behind the leader as evidence of the progress he has made in the i20 WRC.

“In Finland we were about 0.7sec/km behind the leader and here we were 0.5sec. In Sardinia, our first rally, it was nearly 2.0sec so it’s a big improvement. The closer you get to the front the harder it gets to make that gap smaller, but it gives us a good target to aim for.

“We were quite close to Thierry (team leader Neuville), sometimes even ahead, so that’s a good step. I think we did the best job we could,” he added.

Hyundai has fielded Juho Hanninen, Dani Sordo and Chris Atkinson as the second driver in its main team this season, but is understood to prefer a permanent second driver for 2015. Paddon is representing its second team this year.

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