Hayden Paddon: Wales Rally GB
Once again it’s rally week – with our fourth rally in five weeks. It’s a very hectic time but spare a thought for the teams as they turn around cars at the workshop in 3-4 days, fully rebuilt from a bare shell up for each event.
This week we are back on the gravel with Wales Rally GB. Its an event that is special to us for many reasons and one that I have always enjoyed. This rally was the scene of our first rally outside NZ way back in 2007 as a ‘one off’ and we have since done the event a further 5 times. The Welsh forestry roads remind me a lot of some of the forestry stages we have in NZ and are generally quite fast stages. Despite with this description they sounding like they should suit me down to the ground, we have never put together a good result here. We hope to turn that around this year.
Since Spain we have been testing in South of France with both the 2016 car (to prepare for both Rally GB and Rally Australia) and further development of the 2017 car. Our recent test on gravel with the current car have been very good and we are in a good place. The testing of the 2017 car is going well and the team are working flat out to prepare and develop as much as they can for Monte Carlo next January. With the new rules and regulations, every team will be introducing a new car next year which will include 80bhp more, more radical looking and sounding cars which will certainly add more excitement to the sport. I can ensure you from inside the car they are more exciting to drive.
With this years Rally GB being a few weeks earlier than normal, the long range weather forecast is currently showing warmer and dryer weather than normal. Traditionally this is a rally that is wet and muddy – so dryer conditions could spring some surprises as its not something we are use to here. Also each day of the rally has no servicing (only service at the end of each day) meaning we will not have to be fast here, but also look after the car.
We are going to push hard this weekend. We are not going to target a specific result as that puts unnecessary pressure on ourselves, but we do want to get back on the podium soon. It has felt like a long time and both and John and very hungry to put that right. As always you will be able to follow our progress via our website www.haydenpaddon.com