Paddon finishes first of Pirelli Star Drivers

Hayden Paddon recovers from Day 1 disaster to finished 26th overall and the first of Pirelli Star Drivers at WRC Rally Turkey read his blog from the final day..


After such a tough start to Rally Turkey, we have made the finish after successfully getting through today’s stages.

However, the day did not start so well, with the first two stages cancelled as the safety cars were unable to pass the muddy stages. Then on the third stage our team mate Ott Tanak had a large crash. After passing Ott’s stranded car we decided to ease off a little and concentrate on getting the car to the end of what has been a very tough event for the whole team.

This afternoon’s stages went well. The first two were the stages that had been cancelled in the morning. The first one included a very slippery downhill section that was comparable to the slippery mud that we encountered in Malaysia and the second, in places, wasn’t much easier.

The last stage is one of the best stages that I have ever driven, very fast and flowing with big jumps. As I have found out, the Evo 10 flies brilliantly, so leaving the ground and looking at the sky with that brief moment of silence until everything lands, is just the best feeling ever.

It has been great to get more time in the car and my confidence with it has been growing by the stage. Once I get a little more confident in driving it consistently, I will be able to focus more on fine tuning the set-up of the car with the team, which I hope I will be able to do during the next Pirelli Star Driver event, in Portugal.

In the end, we recovered from 36th overall at the end of Day 1 (the Super rally system that allows us to rejoin works that we are penalised the fastest time in our class plus 5 minutes per stage missed) to 26th overall (after incurring 45 minutes of penalties), with the small consolation of being the first Pirelli Star Driver finisher. A huge thanks to the whole team, FIA, Pirelli, Mike, Loris, Carlo, Walter and the rest of Ralliart Italy crew, who did a fantastic job all weekend keeping the cars going and repairing the damage from the rough conditions. I must admit that the Evo 10 is a very strong car, as we were hitting some very large rocks with relatively little damage.

Also, a huge thanks to everyone back home for your support and my Nana, Esther, who is currently travelling around Europe and stayed for the duration of the event to support us. She thoroughly enjoyed her first WRC experience, which she will get another taste of when she sees us again in Portugal.

In the meantime, I will have our video diary posted in the next day or so (gives me something to do on the plane ride home) and will keep you posted about this. I will also get photos posted on our site in the next day or so.

Once we get home we have one week to make final preparations before we leave for Rally New Zealand. I cannot wait for this and look forward after it to joining the Pirelli Star Driver and Ralliart Italy teams again in Portugal 2 weeks later.