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Rallye Deutschland: Paddon to use Germany as learning curve on ‘foreign' surface

Hayden Paddon says he isn't expecting to be ultra-competitive at Rally Germany due to his inexperience on asphalt.
Hayden Paddon says he isn't expecting to be ultra-competitive at Rally Germany due to his inexperience on asphalt and feels the pressure is off him to lead the Hyundai charge.

The New Zealand driver is currently the top Hyundai in the World Rally Championship standings in fourth behind the dominant Volkwagen Motorsport trio of Sebastien Ogier, Andreas Mikkelsen and Jari-Matti Latvala.

Despite coming off the back of two positive results with third in Poland and fifth in Finland, Paddon feels the switch in surface won't play to his strengths having estimated he's only ever competed in 'seven tarmac rallies'.

As a result, Paddon wants to focus on gaining more experience on the surface before targeting any outright results for Hyundai.

“It's going to be a bit foreign. It seems like a long time since we were doing a tarmac rally,” Paddon said. “It's not my preferred surface but it's one that I have to learn. I get to use it as an opportunity to improve on where we left off from last year.

“Germany is a very unique rally in the vineyards, the army range and also some public roads as well. It's sort of three tarmac rallies in one, and we're looking forward to the challenge.

“I have to be realistic and open minded to learn. I have competed in something like 150 gravel rallies in my life and maybe only seven tarmac rallies. It does require a different driving style and technique and this is something I need to adapt to. The recent track and simulator work has helped a lot.”

Last year Paddon grabbed a ninth place finish in Germany and having been shuffled back to the non-manufacturer points scoring squad he is focusing on the learning experience.

“There is no pressure or expectations from myself or the team so the focus is improving for the future so we can start to mount a challenge on asphalt rallies next year.”



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