Hyundai's Hayden Paddon survived the “biggest moment he has ever got away with” en-route
to fifth on Rallye Deutschland last weekend.
The Kiwi had a turbulent start on Friday, losing 20 seconds in SS1 after a “big spin”, before then losing more time in SS2 when he locked up and hit a drain. He then also had that massive scare in SS3 [see Video below]
, but thereafter generally kept it together.
Indeed he gained places on the second day, when Stephane Lefebvre crashed and Ott Tanak had alternator issues, before overhauling M-Sport's Mads Ostberg for fifth in SS12. He eventually finished almost a minute up on the Norwegian.
“Okay, we have some work to do with our speed but the result is okay - fifth is probably where we would have ended up without our problems,” Paddon told the official WRC site after the final test.
Paddon now moves up to third in the Drivers' Championship with 96 points, equal to team-mate, Thierry Neuville.
“It's not been a straightforward rally for us but I am pleased to have ended it on a positive note and to have picked up a decent haul of points for fifth,” Paddon added.
“We have used this weekend to learn more about our driving in this rally, which is without doubt the most challenging of the asphalt events.
“We made some small improvements on Sunday [too], which will help us for the next rally in Corsica. Most importantly, it has [also] been a great weekend for the team with a double podium [thanks to my team-mates Dani Sordo and Neuville]. It's a great reward for everyone's effort back at Alzenau.”
Meanwhile, speaking on Friday, Paddon described the first leg as “one of those days” and conceded he was fortune to have got through.
“It's been one of those days and we've certainly been learning the hard way! We had an eventful morning loop. The conditions were tricky, mainly dry but there was a lot of mud in the cuts. We had a big spin in the vineyards and lost 20 seconds. Then, in the following stage, we hit a drain on the rear-left, which added to the time loss.
“We made it to lunchtime service relatively intact but had more drama in the afternoon. The repeat of Mittelmosel we had a big moment heading downhill fast in sixth when we went off - onto the grass, then back the other way, and back again. It is the biggest moment I have actually got away with.
“We were lucky.”