Hayden Paddon and John Kennard put in a solid day’s work to improve to seventh overall on the French WRC round, Tour de Corse, on the island of Corsica. The Hyundai Motorsport team is now firmly in the hunt for a strong top-five finish in Tour de Corse, round 11 of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), with three stages of the event left to run.
After a troubled start to the rally for many drivers yesterday, all four Hyundai i20 WRC cars completed Saturday without any significant issues. Kevin Abbring finished the day in fifth place overall with Hayden Paddon also occupying a strong position in seventh. Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville both put Friday’s disappointment behind them to tackle today’s stages with renewed vigour.
The day itself ran a shortened itinerary following the cancellation of SS4 (43.69km Casamozza-Ponte Leccia 2) due to road damage as a result of yesterday’s heavy rain. That left just two stages to contest – the 36.43km long SS5 Francardo-Sermano, a repeat of yesterday’s final stage, and the monster 48.46km Muracciole-Col de Sorba stage.
Starting the day tenth overall – their 11th overall position revised when 10th-placed Sebastian Ogier didn’t make it back to parc ferme on Friday evening, the Kiwis secured a sixth quickest time on Saturday’s opening stage, just one of two stages on a rally itinerary shortened due to the storm damage on stage four.
“A better start for the morning, the conditions are a little bit easier but still very slippery in places. The confidence is a little bit higher. Okay, we made the wrong tyre choice, but the time was okay,” Paddon said at the midday service.
The afternoon’s only stage – 48.46 km of fast, flowing tarmac – in drier conditions saw Paddon gain even more confidence and a seventh quickest stage time to improve to seventh overall.
Paddon commented: “This afternoon, it was a nice proper tarmac stage so I focused on my driving rather than on the pace notes. I felt that my driving was better but we weren’t following the notes as closely so there was room for improvement. Still, it’s been another valuable day of learning and we will continue to build on this tomorrow.”
Happy with the improvement, Paddon says he will try and aim for top five on Sunday which comprises three stages covering 94.91km, now the longest leg of the rally.
Overall Classification after Day Two
J.M Latvala / M. Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 1:42:24.8
E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2.0
A. Mikkelsen / O. Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +30.8
K. Meeke / P. Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +53.6
K. Abbring / S. Marshall (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:00.1
M. Østberg / J. Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +1:05.7
H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:25.5
B. Bouffier / T. De La Haye (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:37.2
S. Sarrazin / J. J. Renucci (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:51.6
O. Tanak / R. Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:53.9
D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:02.6