Hayden Paddon remains in second place in his Team Green-run Mitsubishi Lancer although the gap to Flodin was widened when the New Zealander’s right-rear brake caliper broke eight kilometres from the finish of the first run through the 33.76-kilometre Kamuycep stage on Saturday morning.
“It was caused by hitting all the rocks,” said Paddon’s co-driver John Kennard. “Hayden’s brake pedal went to the floor after that and we had no brakes at all for the rest of the stage. The car set-up was more to my liking today but it’s still very slippery under the trees.”
Running repairs prior to stage 13, Kina, enabled the pair to complete the morning loop largely unscathed although the 90 seconds dropped on Kamuycep means Paddon’s gap to Flodin stands at more than three minutes heading into the final day.
NEWS FROM HAYDEN PADDON:
We have made it to the end of Day two of Rally Japan holding onto second in PWRC – although not without its dramas.
Starting the day two minutes behind the leader Patrick Flodin we knew it was a tall order to close in and put pressure on him. So the target was to consolidate while also learning more about this new surface and work on the car set-up so that I could gain further confidence.
The day started off well, winning the first stage which was already very rough in places. Surprisingly enough this was the roughest stage of the day with the following two having a lot harder base meaning that the road cut up less. On the longest stage of the rally, 34km, things were going well and our splits were good.
But 12km from the end we began to loose the brakes and a further 2km later we had absolutely no brakes – front or rear. Knowing we had a large gap behind we did nothing silly and drove slowly to the end of the stage using the gearbox as the brakes, losing over one and a half minutes. On the road section between stages we had to make emergency repairs which enabled us to have just front brakes for the last 10km stage before service, which we were second quickest in, 5 seconds of the fastest time. The cause of the problem was one of many rocks damaging the rear brake caliper.
At service we got the car repaired and tackled the repeat loop. The stages were rougher in places but in general in better condition than yesterdays stages. There were a lot of places under the trees that were damp and very slippery but other than that there was good grip. As the rally progresses, we are learning more and more with the car set-up for these conditions, and although still not perfect, it is good enough for me to gain more confidence. We won all three of the afternoon gravel stages which was a small consolation for another tough day.
Currently we are 13th overall and 2nd PWRC. Tomorrow is a short day but the repeated 17km stage is very tricky, narrow and rough, so there is still a long way to go. The target tomorrow is to carry on at a steady pace and get to the finish.
The team here have been doing a fantastic job and have all been kept very busy at every service. It has also been great to see the many Japanese fans supporting us with signs and New Zealand flags.
Looking forward to tomorrow! I will keep you updated,
Photos: Euan Cameron and Marcel Stawiczny