With a relatively short break between Portugal and Sardinia, its great to be back in the car sooner rather than later for this weeks rally. Obviously we have some very good memories from here last year, which combined with the extra determination after the disappointing result in Portugal means we are confident of a good result.
Firstly the job the team did in a very short space of time to build an entirely new car was masterful. Of course they had a spare caged body shell ready to go, but the major task was accumulating every single nut, bolt, wire and component to piece it all together. Within 8 days the car was complete, and I was able to shake it down last week to make sure everything was working as normal. As much as I would have liked to get my hands dirty myself, in this factory team environment it is best to leave the experts to it, but of course I got into the workshop when I could.
In has been a busy 2 weeks preparation, with a lot of good homework and study of the stages and our pace notes. We can reuse about 70% of our notes from last year and 2014 which gives us a good base to work from, although there are a couple of new stages on Friday.
We had a really good test in Sardinia 10 days ago where we were able to put our finger on our Portugal problems, and make some further refinements to the car setup. It was the best I have felt in the car and we are still making steps forward. We now need to translate that confidence onto the stages where we hope to fight at the front.
This rally is normally one of the worse for road sweeping of the year. Our 4th position on the road is not as good as what we had on this event last year, however our main rivals are ahead of us which is what we need to take advantage of. This event can tend to be a little rough as well with narrow technical stages, so while we aim to be as fast as we can, you also need to be tidy to try and stay out of trouble.
We have well and truly forgotten about the last rally and determined to get the year back on track this weekend. Of course throughout the rally you can follow our progress through various media channels, all of which you can find links to on our website – www.haydenpaddon.com.
Thanks for all your continued support. On a side note it is great to see some Rally NZ officials here this week, and behind closed doors we are all continuing to work and push hard for a return of Rally NZ.