Saturday , May 8 2021

Under pressure padon shines Stuff.co.nz





DUKE

Kiwi WRC driver Hayden Paddon finished second in the Australian Rally.



Hayden Paddon gave his ongoing contract negotiations with Hyundai a big boost with the best season to finish the last WRC rally of 2018.

The driver outside the Kiwi drive, which has not yet finished a WRC drive in 2019, finished second at Kennards to hire the Australian Rally Copps Harbor on Sunday.

Under pressure to make the bid to win a contract, Pidgin stood up when he was counted under tough conditions on Sunday to provide a career-setting career potential under all sorts of expectations.

Paddon was without a hitch most of the weekend, including on Sunday, when the night rain and a strange heavy shower made for dicey conditions and created a drama packed in the last few hours of the WRC season.

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Tari of Jari-Matti Latvala claimed victory in Australia's Rally, 32.5 seconds before Paddon with Mads Østberg another 19.7 seconds back in the third.

But Latvala's win was a shadow by M-Sport Ford of Sebastian Oggia clinching his sixth World Championship after finishing fifth.

He entered the Australian Championship, Oggier held 23 points in the championship over Pudun's friend, Thierry Noaville, with another 20 points back to the Laut Tank.

Paddon, who was comfortable at three, was promoted to the second level in the penultimate stage of the demonstration, when Tanak left the road and ended both his rally and his thin championship hopes.

This fault gave Ogir the championship before the final stage.

He finished the season with 219 points, 18 clear of Noville (201) with third third with 181 points.

Neville suffered severe weekends, and his championship chances were damaged after being hit in the box.

In the end, he was relieved of his misery when damage was done and he lost a wheel after hitting a tree in step 22.

PADON, 31, finished the final phase of the Australian Rally in sixth place, 4.6 seconds behind the winning stage Ogier.

Paddon British co-driver Seb Marshall were the first of three Hyundai home cars at Rally Australia in what was polished performance.

The second substrate was his best result since he was running up in Poland in July last year.

Paddon and Marshall finished third in the 2017 Australian Rally.

Paddon, which competed only seven out of 13 WRC rounds in 2018, won three stages during the weekend and was consistently on pace with the world's best drivers despite not racing at WRC since the seventh finished at Wales Rally GB back in early October.

Hyundai cut off PADON 2018 schedule following a 2017 disaster and the decision to drop from 4 to 3 car teams.

It was also their last encounter together. Marshall is tipped to be heading to Toyota but it has not yet been confirmed.

The most likely scenario for PADON in 2019 is the status quo – another split season with Spaniard Danny Sordo but it is still to be approved as is the driver's partner.

Pidon and Sordo shared Hyundai in 2018.

PADON finishes the WRC year with the second, third, two quarters, fifth, seventh and DNF after a crash while leading the Portugal Rally.

He also won his fourth New Zealand Rally Championship and downtime from the WRC.

* Mat Kermeen traveled to Coffs Harbor with assistance from the WRC.

– Stuff



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