Hayden Paddon says the disappointment of retiring from Rally de Portugal in a dramatic fireball hasn't dented his confidence and hopes to use the experience as motivation to battle back in Sardinia this weekend.
The Hyundai Motorsport hotshot rolled his i20 WRC in SS5 in Portugal and caught fire - ending his rally on the spot - which acted as a heavy comedown after he and co-driver John Kennard claimed their maiden WRC victory the round before in Argentina.
“We had a hard weekend in Portugal but the accident does not dent the confidence at all - in fact we are only more determined than ever to come back fighting in Sardinia,” Paddon said. “I'd like to thank everyone in the team for getting our car ready for us. Let's hope we can repay those efforts with a positive result.”
Rally d'Italia holds much happier memories for Paddon with Hyundai as he was handed his WRC debut for the manufacturer in 2014 before going on to claim a maiden WRC rostrum with second place 12 months later.
Aiming to emulate those moments returning as an WRC race winner, Paddon says making the most of road position [Paddon will start fourth] will be key to securing a hat-trick of successful Rally d'Italias.
“You never forget your first podium and we'd love to go back and get another one this year,” he added. “It is a bit of a different rally this year. Day one is quite new so it means the challenge will be different, but road position can still be key.”