New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon and Team Green have got another quick set of rally changeovers coming up as they compete in the Rally of Queensland this weekend (May 9-10) and then the Rally of Otago the following weekend (May 16-17).
Paddon will have to adjust to driving different cars at each event and while he doesn’t find adjusting to the car’s right-hand (Evo 8) to left-hand (Evo 9) steering wheel placements a problem, the different technology can take a little getting used to.
“It is tough at this level when we are in a six-year old-car (Evo 8) overseas versus brand new 2009 and 2008 models in the APRC. The car we drive at home is a lot better sorted, so it is a matter of making the most out of what we have got.”
His main aim this weekend is, however, to get some more international miles under his belt and to further learn the art of competing on foreign turf.
“We all can not wait to cross the ditch and set the record straight, with the goal over there being to firstly finish, and secondly to set some competitive stage times.”
Seeded number four for the event behind current APRC champion, Cody Crocker, Japanese and India rally champions Katsu Taguchi and Gaurav Gill, Hayden describes the APRC field as very competitive and the top step of the podium will be fiercely battled for.
“We would like to be the team on the top step, but we have to be realistic that this is a new event for us and our car may be slightly behind the ape ball. But we will give it a good nudge without a doubt, and from what I have seen of the Queensland roads, their fast nature should suit us well.”
Team Green has not let a frustrating outing at Rally New Caledonia get them down – where they only completed three super special stages before a broken gearbox, then the second day of competition being cancelled, due to torrential rain, put an end to their event.
“The team are really upbeat. Although the first couple of rallies haven’t quite gone to plan, we have a lot of miles and a lot of rallies to go.”
The team would also like to thank their loyal supporters and sponsors for their continued support including Paddon Direct, EDL Fasteners, Rally Tours, BF Goodrich tyres, FMG, Endless Brakes, Castrol oils, Hella, Teng Tools, Bluebridge Ferry’s, Resene Automotive Paints, In-Tune Automotive,Vicarage Lane Wines, Murray Coote Suspension, Northend Ford, Pope Print, ZM, Steelplus, Andar the Front Store and Timaru Signs.
For more information on Hayden or the team visit their website, www.hayden-paddon.com or +64 27 318 1748
Photos: Euan Cameron
Hayden’s 2009 rally programme comprises the following events:
Vantage New Zealand Rally Championship – Rally of Hawke’s Bay, 4-5 April; Rally of Otago, 16-17 May; Rally of Whangarei, 6-7 June; Rally Wairarapa, 18-July; Rally of Nelson, 19-20 September.
FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship: Rally New Caledonia April 10-12, Rally Queensland (Australia), 9-10 May; Rally Whangarei (New Zealand), 6-7 June; Rally Hokkaido (Japan), 11-12 July; Rally Indonesia (Indonesia), 3-4 October; China Rally (China), 14-15 November.
FIA World Rally Championship – Rally Australia September 2-6.