Hayden Paddon and John Kennard utilised Thursday’s shakedown runs on a 4.98km gravel stage south of Rally Australia host town, Coffs Harbour, to ensure they perfected the setup of their Hyundai i20 WRC car before the rally gets underway on Friday morning.
Paddon said: “We tried lots of different things during shakedown today. Working from an established setup from earlier gravel events, we tried a few different damper settings. The last run felt very good despite a quick spin on the first corner. Remember a lot of these guys go really fast in shakedown, but the rally’s the most important thing. Most importantly we’re feeling good in the car and are confident for tomorrow.”
The Australian event gets underway with three brand-new stages. Hyundai Motorsport team manager Alain Penasse commented that, coming from New Zealand’s national rally championship, Paddon is used to a one-pass recce, not the two-pass recce that WRC competitors are used to. “So Hayden is often very quick on new stages, as he and John (Kennard, co-driver) have their pace notes sorted on that first recce pass.”
Of the new stages which open Friday’s action, Paddon said: “They’ve got a good gravel covering, perhaps the most of any other stage, so they’re the three stages where we’re really need to make the most of our road position (starting 9th on the road with Mads Ostberg’s withdrawal) and push hard.”