First Impressions from Malaysia

HAYDEN PADDON ‘BLOG’: Today has been a very successful day of recce for us. In the rally there are 14 stages which are all repeat stages meaning there are seven different routes in the event. Today we completed a two pass recce over five of the seven stages while tomorrow morning we have the remaining two to complete.

Despite the odd very slippery and cut up sections I really like the look of the roads and feel they will suit my driving style. To give you an idea of just how different the roads are here to what we have at home, in a 28km stage we would maybe have approx a dozen junctions within that stretch of road in New Zealand. Here there are 130 junctions meaning there are junctions on average of every 200 meters!

There is not a lot of flow and camber to the roads, more tight twisty sections which are each connected by straights of flat out pieces of road. The other difficulty is the grip and surface changes from corner to corner with the majority of the roads having a hard clay base which becomes treacherously slippery during wet weather. But this grip level changes often depending on how shaded each corner is and has made it vital to include a lot more information in our pace notes regarding the road surface. There are also a lot of very long corners where it will be crucial to have the confidence in the car to lean on it.

I am confident we have a really good set of notes which we will fine tune again from the video footage on Friday. Late this afternoon there was a huge thunder storm in the area we were in. The rain was so heavy that you could barely see the vehicle in front of you and rivers flowed down main highways.

The thunder and lighting display was quite impressive, so much so that driving along you could feel the tremble of the thunder through the seat of the car. Tomorrow morning we will complete the remaining stages, while in the afternoon we have our first chance to test the car and dial it in to the conditions. We have also had the car tuned to suit the climate and different conditions here in Malaysia to give us a good strong, reliable package.

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