Hayden Paddon: Rally France
Preparations for this weekends Rally France are going well. We arrived here in Strasbourg, France on Sunday, after a quick stop over in Paris to visit the Paris Motorshow for the first time. After a bit of time off on Monday and a nice long run along side the Rhine, it was straight into recce early Tuesday morning.
Over the last two days we have been able to use some of our notes for 2010 when we last did this rally, and have had to write some sections which are new to us. The roads are looking great however, and very fast in places. If you think some of the Finnish stages are fast – that is nothing compared to a couple of the stages here. There will be many places where we will be on the rev limiter for long periods of time.
We are well prepared and we have a good set of pace notes. The car is looking grouse in tarmac trim and the team have done a great job preparing the car. The weather so far has been quite settled which we hope continues throughout the rest of the week. When wet not only does it make the tyre decisions harder (we have a choose of a soft or hard compound tyre) it also means that more mud and pollution gets dragged onto the road – dramatically decreasing the grip levels. However in these circumstances it will be important to remember that it is the same for everyone.
One target for this weekend – to win SWRC. We will solely focus on the times of Craig and PG but of course there are a lot of unknowns until after the first stage – as we have not competed against each other before on tarmac. So im eager to see the times after the first proper stage.
Shakedown tomorrow morning, before the super special stage in the middle of Strasbourg in the afternoon. Then the rally gets under way proper Friday morning. We will keep you posted.