With a short turn around between Rally Finland and this weeks Rally Germany it means we are rearing to go and get in the rhythm of Tarmac driving.
Our first Tarmac event of the year and only my 6th Tarmac event ever – means we have a big challenge ahead. While we are well prepared after a good test last week and some driving training in the UK with kiwi legend Rob Wilson, we have to be realistic that this is a surface that we lack experience of. However the only way we gain that is by doing the rallies and learning – which is the target this weekend.
Of all the Tarmac events on the calendar, the narrow, technical roads here are the type that can be adapted to from a gravel driving style – as there is often no road width to drive ‘racing lines’. In saying this we do have to change the driving style to be more smooth and progressive with all inputs – which initially feels slow.
Test last week went well which we essentially started from scratch with setup. While we did do Rally Spain last year with the car, the new 2015 Tarmac tyres, different road surface and my increased comfort in the i20 WRC meant we have started from scratch. We are happy with our settings from test albeit in quite a different direction to our teammates. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing yet 😉
Speaking of which, with our team running 4 cars again this weekend it puts a bit more pressure on, especially considering that Thierry, Dani and Kevin are all drivers that grew up on Tarmac and I consider them as Tarmac specialists. But we are not using that as an excuse and will be pushing to be as competitive as possible, learning from them and concentrating on finishing so we can collect as many miles and experience as possible.
On Monday it was good to experience a little about the wine history which is quite famous here in the Mosel Valley – and get hands on helping in the vineyards. You never know, this might come in handy for helping on my codrivers John or my family’s vineyards back in New Zealand. You can see the video here: https://youtu.be/U-wSTIkPq78
Tomorrow we have shakedown and a chance to confirm settings for the rally. Stage 1 then kicks off Friday morning.
As always you can follow us by several means of media channels throughout the rally which you can find all links to at www.haydenpaddon.com
Also this weekend is the 5th round of the NZ rally championship where David Holder is returning to the championship. Best of luck to everyone competing. You can check out our local rally scene by visiting www.nzrallychampionship.co.nz