You’re an ex WRC driver (unfortunately) and competing in the Otago Rally. Your talent and experience means you will win easily if you just keep the car on the road and get to the finish. So what is your motivation?
Naturally it is to get back into the World Rally Championship. I asked Hayden was Rally Otago a matter of Paddon vs Paddon? Was it about breaking his previous stage times?
“For me that is my only priority, focusing on records and times we have set in the past,” was his answer. ” We have set ourselves some benchmarks and I want to surpass those. Also to show the rally people in Europe that we are not getting slower. That’s quite important. It’s quite relevant when we are setting records and comparing with the year before.”
Is he conscious that people are watching?
“Yes and no. At the end of the day you just have to get in the car and drive. When you relax and enjoy that’s when everything happens. That’s pretty easy to do in these stages as they are some of the best in the world. It’s nice to have those reference points for the satisfaction.
So, let’s look at the 15 Special Stages from the 2019 Rally Otago, comparing Paddon’s times with the previous stage records mostly set by him in 2018. Let’s also compare these with the next fastest driver (overall) Ben Hunt (Subaru). Note: the comparison with Hunt is not to show how slow he is, more to show how much quicker Paddon is with the best of the rest
SS1 Whare Flat – 11.61km – previous record 7min 21.2 sec
– Paddon set a time of 7min 17.5 sec, beating the record by 3.7 sec. Hunt’s time was 7min 36.6 sec
SS2 Berwick 1 – 34.92 km – a new stage so no previous record
– Paddon’s time was 19min 28.6 sec while Hunt was 1min 35.9 sec slower (that’s 2.75 seconds per km slower)
SS3 Taieri Beach Long – 12.43 km – a new stage so no previous record
– Paddon set a time of 6min 50.1 sec, 14.1 seconds quicker than Hunt
SS4 Kuri Bush – 15.05 km – previous record was 7min 19.8 sec
– Paddon knocked just over four seconds off this time, setting a 7min 15.4 sec time; 11.6 sec ahead of Hunt
SS5 McIntosh Rd – 8.02 km – previous record 4min19.5 sec
– Here Paddon set a new record of 4min 17.0 sec, Hunt 9.2 seconds slower
SS6 Waipori Gorge – 12.8 km – Ken Block held the record from 2015 with a time of 7min 49.8 sec
– Paddon sliced 10.2 seconds off Block’s time (7min 39.6sec); 15.3 sec faster than Hunt
SS7 Berwick 2 – 34.92 km- this was a rerun of the morning’s SS2 stage
– Paddon went 34.7 seconds faster than in the morning, Hunt went 1min 12.9 seconds faster than in the morning but still 57.7 seconds slower than Paddon
SS8 Super Special – 2.15 km around the streets of Dunedin
– Paddon popped his right front tyre from the rim having run too higher pressure. This is the only stage that he was to lose, setting a time of 1min 59.8 sec while Hunt won the stage with a time of 1min 32.9
SS9 Windsor 1 – 22.69 km – previous record was 13min 21.8 sec
– Paddon set a time of 11min 46.3 sec, 49.5 sec faster than Hunt (12min 35.8)
SS10 Bobbing Creek 1 – 21.58 km – Paddon held the previous fastest time of 12:04.0 set in 2013 in his Mitsubishi Evo 9
– This year Paddon sliced 34.1 seconds off his previous time and went 38.7 sec faster than Hunt (12min 08.6sec)
SS11 Maheno – 13.72 km – new stage
– Paddon set a time of 6min 53 sec while Hunt was 21.2 sec slower (7min 14.2 sec)
SS12 Windsor 2 – 22.69 km – a repeat of the mornings SS9
– Paddon went 12.5 sec faster than in the morning with a time of 11min 33.8, 36.6 sec ahead of Hunt (12min 10.8 sec)
SS13 Bobbing Creek 2 – 21.58 km – a repeat of SS10
– Paddon again went faster, 11min 14.0sec while Hunt was 37.4 sec slower (11min 51.5)
SS14 Shag Valley Back Rd – 8.31 km – The previous record was 4min 45.3
– Paddon went 7.8 sec faster (4min 37.5) while Hunt was 11 sec behind (4min 48.5)
SS15 Golden Bar – 30.06 km – this was a new stage
– Paddon set a time of 14min 37.8 sec with Hunt 45.5 seconds behind (15min 23.3)
There was a total 272.53km of Special Stages in Rally Otago. Paddon finished 7min 16.9 seconds ahead of Hunt which averages out at 1.6 sec faster per km.
Fifteen Special Stages and 14 new records!
In two week’s time Paddon will compete in the International Rally of Whangarei, his last NZRC round for the year so we should expect more of the same.