Hyundai Motorsport‘s #20 machine piloted by Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard finished Rally Catalunya – Rally de Espana in fourth place overall. It was always going to be a tough weekend on an unfavourable surface, but the New Zealand competitor did his best to minimise the damage.
Paddon had made steady progress during the entire rally weekend. The Kiwi crew picked up a couple of top-two stage times on Sunday morning eventually securing fourth place overall, his best ever World Rally Championship result on tarmac.
Speaking after the Rally, Paddon said: “It’s been a good final day for us and a positive event for the entire team. We have continued with our learning curve and kept the pressure on. Even if we weren’t able to finish on the podium, I’m happy with what we’ve achieved over the three days.
Ever since we changed some things on the car [Saturday] lunchtime, it’s been an improvement. I’ve enjoyed the stages [on Sunday]. I liked the first stage (Pratdip) but I was surprised by our pace in the second one (Duesaigües) because I’ve always struggled on that one.”
He currently lies fourth in the championship, on 114 points. His team-mate’s Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville finished narrowly in front. The Hyundai team close in on Volkswagen in the constructors
“There’s nothing more frustrating for me than standing still so I’m pleased we’ve started to move in the right direction. Now let’s bring on the gravel!”
With two rounds to go for the 29-year-old, he still has a realistic possibility of collecting runners-up spot in the championship, though will be not want to finish behind two of his team-mate’s who are all in the running.
“It’s pleasing when we see Hayden taking his best ever tarmac result in fourth and Kevin Abbring taking his WRC career best.” said Michael Nanden, the team principal. “Now, our focus shifts back to gravel for Wales Rally GB and Australia – we want to finish the season on a high.”