Hayden Paddon: More than 50% of the route is new for Sweden

Hayden Paddon: More than 50% of the route is new for Sweden

Hayden Paddon
Hayden Paddon / Source: Hyundai

Hayden Paddon from Hyundai explains the challenges of Rally Sweden.

What are the main challenges of driving on snow and ice?

“Making the best use of the snow banks is the big thing. It’s the unique challenge of carrying more corner speed than you think would be possible, but leaning on the snow banks to stay on the road. The speed and the angle are key to getting this right.”

New regulations for 2017 mean World Rally Cars are faster and more spectacular than ever before. What will the spectacle be like in Sweden?

“Sweden is one of the three fastest events on the calendar, so we will be able to use the extra horsepower and aero to their maximum capabilities. The speeds will be considerably higher compared to what we’ve seen before.”

How have you been readying yourself for Rally Sweden in terms of testing, training and preparation?

“We tested for one and a half days to adjust the car set-up to the conditions. More than 50 per cent of the route is new for this year so quite a lot of the emphasis in terms of preparation has gone on making new pacenotes.”

The Vargåsen stage includes the famous Colin’s Crest. How do you approach this jump and what’s the sensation like?

“It’s unique in that it’s not a straight jump, you have to be turning for a blind corner as you cross the jump. It’s easily flat but the key is the positioning of the car over the jump.”

How much of a factor can road position be on this rally?

“It depends on the conditions and how much fresh snow there is. If there is fresh snow it sweeps like gravel so starting further down the order is better. But if there’s no fresh snow and just ice, then the ice chews up more and more so it’s better to be first on the road.”

What are your top tips for keeping warm in the cold?

“Plenty of layers of clothing and feet warmers – especially on an event like Sweden where the temperature can drop to -25˚C. There’s nothing worse than cold feet for a rally driver.”

After a tough start to the season what are your aims for Rally Sweden?

“It’s been good to get back in the car during testing for Rally Sweden. We were second in Sweden last year so it’s an event I like and know I can do well on. Thierry has also finished second on this rally and Dani has come close to a podium finish, so it should be a good contest between us.”