Hayden Paddon travelled home to New Zealand. The Kiwi needed to take a break from a tough start of the 2017 World Rally Championship. He crashed at the very beginning of Rally Monte Carlo. A spectator died later as a result of his injuries sustained in the accident. In Sweden Paddon finished seventh but that was far from the desired result. Hayden explained to stuff.co.nz how getting back home helped him before the third championship round, which is in Mexico next week.
“New Zealand is the best place in the world and every time I come home I feel more relaxed. Especially after the start we’ve had. It’s a good way to press the re-set button. In general, I’m in a very positive frame of mind”, Paddon commented.
“The first rally wasn’t an ideal situation. It’s not something you prepare yourself to deal with. We know the risks of competing but for people on the sides of stages it’s not a risk they should be taking. It was a shock for everyone and we’ve tried to deal with it as best we can. You have to keep moving forward and while unfortunate accidents are exactly that, we can’t let things like that stop us.”
One of the solutions for continuing his work was exactly that – to get back in the car and drive. After Rally Sweden he made a test in Spain in preparation for Rally Mexico.
Hayden Paddon: “It’s a good way to press the re-set button. In general, I’m in a very positive frame of mind”
“I felt really at one with car and that is important moving forward. It’s also easy to forget, because we went out on the first stage in Monte. Sweden was effectively our first time in the new car. It’s an understatement to say it hasn’t been the best start but it’s a long year… We’re going back to gravel, my preferred surface. We’ve just got to stay positive, keep working hard. I’m sure the results will come”, Paddon added.
Hayden and co-driver John Kennard will be hoping to compete for their first podium finish of the season on the Mexican gravel. They achieved a top-five finish in the event twelve months ago, scoring a Power Stage point at the rally’s conclusion.
“I’m looking forward to Rally Mexico. It feels like a long time since we’ve been on gravel and rallying outside of Europe. It’s an event with a nice atmosphere with passionate fans and enjoyable roads. The altitude is a key characteristic of this rally. We have to adjust the car and ourselves to the conditions. We have to make sure that we put in the extra effort so that we’re fully prepared. Maintaining hydration levels in the hotter conditions is obviously important too. We’re going to try everything that we can to put in a solid performance and to secure a positive result”, Paddon said.
— Hayden Paddon (@HaydenPaddon) 1 March 2017