“Obviously to be in the top five is what our goal was going into the rally and it’s a good bank of points, but probably we didn’t achieve it in the way that we wanted to,” said Paddon following the final three of what was meant to be four stages on Sunday (CEST) after organisers had to cancel the penultimate stage due to spectators not staying in the designated areas.
Paddon and Kennard completed Sunday’s special stages with three top six times to secure their third fifth place finish of the 2016 FIA World Championship. Paddon said the stages were generally okay as he tried to work on driving techniques to learn for the upcoming tarmac events in Corsica and Spain.
“Of course we know we have a lot to improve on tarmac especially when the conditions are wet and a bit more changeable [like they have been this weekend in Germany]. This is a time thing; we just need more time on the surface to build up the confidence.
“I think come Corsica, we can be much stronger than what we are here. We know the key areas where we struggled here and these types of stages we don’t get in Corsica.
“We’ve got a lot to look forward to and we’re going to work really hard. I think we can build on this and mount a much stronger challenge up the front.”
Paddon’s fifth place finish moves him into third in the WRC drivers’ championship on 94 points, equal with team-mate Thierry Neuville. Co-driver John Kennard is in the same position on the WRC co-drivers’ championship table, equal with Neuville’s co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul.
“To be back third [equal] in the championship is certainly a good place. We’d like to try and hang on to that for the rest of the year, but it’s going to be a big fight between about four of us, so it’s going to be an exciting last 3-4 rallies of the season.”
With Rally China, which should have been an early September event, cancelled due to flood damage of the rally route, the WRC takes an unexpected break until the Tour de Corse, aka the ‘rally of 10,000 corners’ on the French island of Corsica. Paddon and Kennard finished fifth there on debut in 2015.