“Of course this wasn’t the result we wanted in Finland,” says Paddon, New Zealand’s only WRC competitor who was forced to retire early on Friday afternoon after crashing in stage six. Paddon and co-driver John Kennard had made an excellent start to the 30 July-2 August rally with consistently top five stage times on the four stages completed on Friday morning.
“Thankfully, John and I were okay but the car was too badly damaged and the team was unable to fix it. But we’ve been here to support the team for the rest of the weekend.
“We’ve built up a lot of momentum in these recent rallies,” Paddon says, referring to his recent second and fourth place finishes in Sardinia and Poland respectively.
“We remain upbeat that we were able to carry the speed and consistency from previous events during Friday morning’s stages.
“We’ve already putting this behind us and have begun working on our next two events in Germany and Australia.
“Germany will be a different kettle of fish being back on the tarmac, but it’s a surface I have to learn more about and get more experience of. We are happy with our progress to date and there is much more to come yet.”
Paddon and Kennard were not the only WRC crew to retire due to a high speed crash from the rally dubbed the Finnish Grand Prix. Volkswagen Motorsport driver Andreas Mikkelsen was first to hit trouble on Friday morning’s final stage while Citroën’s Kris Meeke crashed out of third place early on Saturday afternoon. Paddon’s Hyundai team-mates Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo were each having their own issues, ending Saturday’s leg in fourth and 11th positions respectively, with just two stages to complete the event on Sunday.