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Wed 06 Jul 2022

Paddon cranks-up Estonia prep

Hayden Paddon was in action at Tet Rally Liepāja last weekend, warming up for his WRC return at Rally Estonia next week (14 - 17 July).

The former WRC rally winner finished sixth overall in the sixth round of the FIA European Rally Championship, which took place on high-speed gravel roads in western Latvia. 

It marked Paddon’s first gravel start in Europe since Wales Rally GB in 2019 - which was also the last time he competed in the WRC - and he took delivery of his Hyundai i20 N Rally2 just a few days before the start. 

He told WRC.com the purpose of the outing was to learn and develop the car in readiness for Rally Estonia next week, where the Kiwi will drive in WRC2.

“We’re not completely set,” Paddon admitted. “If anything, we’ve found out there’s a bigger challenge ahead of us than we initially thought.

“I think it was a good weekend, though. We learned lots about the car and made plenty of little changes. We’ve got some good information and the car should be much stronger for Estonia, but for sure, it won’t be an overnight thing. 

“A lot of the changes we need to make, we have to do when we’re away from the event and in a workshop. That way, we can fully go through the car and have a look at everything,” he added.

This week, Paddon and his crew are basing themselves out of ALM Motorsport’s headquarters near Tallinn.

It’s going to be a busy few days for the team. They plan to pretty much rebuild the car before the WRC’s seventh round, with a focus on the Hyundai’s handling components. 

“ALM Motorsport are helping us out,” he explained. “We’ll be based there and we’ve got quite a lot of work to do. 

“We’re pretty much going to go through and change all the differentials, all the suspension and pretty much all the handling components. 

“It’s not that they’re bad,” Paddon continued. “Some things just need tweaking for my driving style. We’ve identified where we can improve in all of these areas, and this is just about putting those things in place.”