Hayden Paddon: Rally Sweden
We are now back on deck and looking forward to one of my favourite rally’s this week – Rally Sweden.
I won’t lie – I can say the last couple of weeks have been tough. But the overwhelming amount of support and messages has been humbling and I thank you all – it’s been a big help! That, along with competing in the memory of the spectator, gives us extra motivation this week to perform and we will be giving it our best shot.
It was good to get back in the rhythm of things with a test last week in Sweden. The feeling on snow is quite similar to gravel – but with the snowbanks – greater room for error. So the feeling with the car came back very quickly and immediately felt comfortable. As this was the first time driving this car on proper snow conditions with the narrow/studded tyres, we did have to start from scratch with the setup. By the end of test we were really happy, we ended up testing on the same road 12 months prior and it was really good to see the progression and steps with the car (from both the rule changes and car design changes).
Despite being a snow event – this is one of the fastest events on the calendar. Its vital to have absolute confidence in both the pace notes and the studded tyres. Maybe even more so this year as almost 2/3 of the stages are new to us.
In terms of the conditions – while there is less snow than what you would like to see for a ‘winter’ rally – after last year, the conditions look 10 times better. So we should have nice cold conditions which will help to give a good ice base to the road (for the studs to dig into) however the snow banks may not be so big in places. It is no different to doing a gravel rally when you of course have no snow banks – so it’s just a matter of adjusting accordingly.
The two objectives this weekend is to finish but more importantly to enjoy the driving. I feel we are well prepared for the rally, and if we get some good pace notes together (from the recce) and then go and enjoy the rally – the result will come to us.
Just a short update today, but we hope to have plenty to report back on after the rally. Also after the rally we do have some exciting activities to announce – so stay tuned. As always you can follow us during the rally either by www.haydenpaddon.com or www.facebook.com/haydenpaddonwrc