Well it doesn’t seem that long ago we were unpacking our bags after returning home from Rally Sardegna. Now we are back into it this weekend with Rally Poland – an event that was last in the WRC in 2009.
Following Sardegna, there has been a lot of study and homework gone into both the pacenotes and into the data of how I’m driving the car. Having access to this data and being able to compare it with other drivers has really helped me to highlight the key areas I need to improve. This is helping me speed up my development throughout the year, but changing old habits takes longer than 5 minutes :). Also we have adjusted our note system a little to compensate for the extra speed of the WRC car and to also get some consistency back. All in all Im feeling really confident with our preparation and now with our first event with the team complete – feels as though a little pressure has been lifted.
As I say this event has not been part of the championship for 5years – which is great for us as experience is not so much of a factor here. We are also expecting very fast stages (even faster than Finland) but with the main difference being the soft sandy surface, which will become very rough on the repeated stages. With this in mind our target is to have a good go on the first loop while the roads are smoother and still new to everyone. This will require good recce and pacenotes, which I’m now focused on.
In terms of the goal – firstly we would love to get some drivers points (top 10 finish) but primarily our main target is how we compare to our team mate Thierry Neuville. He is our bench mark this year and in Sardegna we were on average 0.75 seconds per km behind him. Our goal is to try and reduce that gap to 0.5 this weekend – which while sounds small, will be no easy feat.
However, feeling much more relaxed and confident for this rally compared to Sardegna and looking forward to getting it started. It will also be great to have over a dozen Kiwis here that we know of supporting us, including family.
We have now two and a half days of recce starting tomorrow before we have shakedown on Thursday. We have not had a test since Sardegna, so shakedown will be our first chance to try our new setup. It is quite different in all aspects compared to what we drove in Sardegna. In theory, it should work 🙂
We then have 3 stages Thursday afternoon/night, followed by 3 days of rallying around the host city of Mikolajki.
Throughout the rally you can keep up to date with us via the following channels:
Twitter – @haydenpaddon
Thanks for your support and we will keep you posted,