Thu 13 Jun 2024

Podium finish the minimum for ERC champion Paddon

Hayden Paddon has made a BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia podium his target as he bids for his maiden FIA European Rally Championship top-three finish of 2024.

Paddon won the ERC crown in 2023 on the back of one win and five podiums but he’s only managed to net a fourth and a sixth so far in 2024 behind the wheel of his Pirelli-equipped Hyundai i20 N Rally2.  

“A minimum of a podium finish is what we’re hoping for but there is some very tough competition in this field with both Oliver and Petter Solberg, some fast locals and obviously the regulars in the European championship all in the 23-strong ERC1 field,” said Paddon, who is co-driven by his fellow New Zealander John Kennard.   

“We’re expecting plenty of intense rallying and we’ve been working hard while we were home in New Zealand utilising our Hyundai i20 Rally2 car to develop a few upgrades to be implemented with our European car before this event.”

Paddon, who starts the event 21 points behind early championship pacesetter Mathieu Franceschi, finished second on the Karlstad-based event last July and is a big fan of the high-speed gravel roads.  

“I'd say it's probably one of our favourite rallies of the ERC calendar,” he said. “We have good memories here from last year with finishing second and just really, really nice stages.  

“I’m keen try to repeat what we did last year. I think it’s important that we have to push very hard as we’re in a position in the championship where we have to catch up a little bit. This is a different mindset to what we had 12 months earlier when we were contesting the ERC for the first time. The proof will be in the pudding once we hit the stages next week, and hopefully we can bring home the result we’re seeking.”

Gabriele Rizzo, the head of the BRC Racing Team which runs Paddon in the ERC, said: “It is just the third event of the season, but it is already very important for our championship. We took this event as one of the most important of the season, we look carefully at every detail to be able to match with our 2023 performance. We know the rally very well and we look forward another great event or rally and emotions.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM