Hyundai Motorsport remained in strong form after Day 2 at Kennards Hire Rally Australia 2016. Kiwi Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard have moved up to third overall, only 12 seconds behind leader Andreas Mikkelsen.
All three Hyundai drivers recorded strong days, with Paddon winning the opening stage at Nambucca. This pushed him up to third overall, with a further stage win for Thierry Neuville to keep him in contention.
Hayden Paddon closed in on the Volkswagon drivers after issues for Mikkelsen.“It’s been a good day. We started well with the stage win through Nambucca, which set a positive tone. There was a lot of dust coming into the car on those first stages.
It was a bit of a distraction, but you have to expect that in Rally Australia. We knew that Sebastien Ogier would be on a charge in the afternoon, which proved to be the case, so we just focused on keeping up the pressure.” he continued
“We missed a bit of speed in the afternoon loop but all in all it’s been a good improvement over last year. We’re involved in a close fight up front. It’s a good position to be in and we’ll certainly be giving it a hard push tomorrow to see what we can do.”
The team has already confirmed second in the constructors title, but with Mikkelsen and Neuville still battling for second in the drivers title. The power stages could prove to be vital for the final order.
Team principal Michel Nanden was looking forward to the conclusion of the season; “Things are shaping up to offer a very exciting end to this fantastic season of WRC. The competition for second place in the drivers’ classification is really intense, and there is hardly anything between the crews.
“There’s a strong possibility of things being decided by Power Stage points, which means we are all in for a thrilling final day. It’s not going to be straightforward on Sunday with five stages – including the long 32km Bucca test.
From a team point of view, of course we want to take our first Australian podium this weekend, but with just 12 seconds separating the top three drivers, we definitely want to do all we can to push for victory.”