Mon 08 Jul 2024

Paddon keeps on going to claim ERC points lead

Hayden Paddon’s refusal to give up was key to him claiming the outright lead of the FIA European Rally Championship after the BRC Racing Team driver admitted he thought his Delfi Rally Estonia challenge was spent following a heavy landing on Saturday morning’s opening stage.

Despite completing the run with water and steam pouring from his Pirelli-equipped Hyundai i20 N Rally2, Paddon kept going after co-driver John Kennard made rapid roadside repairs.  

And Paddon’s eventual fifth-place finish means he tops the provisional standings by 10 points after four rounds ahead of erstwhile pacesetter Mathieu Franceschi.  

“After the jump halfway through stage two with all the water and steam thinking that was the rally over to having a top five is a pretty good recovery as we were thinking about parking the car up,” the defending ERC champion said.  

“It was difficult with the road position to make up much time and I guess from qualifying we had a lot of things set against us this weekend. But like every other rally this season so far, we just kept pushing through the challs that have been thrown at us.”

Pirelli-equipped Paddon had hoped to push for more points on the event-deciding Power Stage but a “big moment” in the treacherous conditions dictated otherwise.  

“The last stage was tough but when you go in expecting it to be tough it’s not so bad,” the New Zealander said. “We wanted to have a push in there to see if we could get some Power Stage points, but we had a big moment two or three kilometres in and after that I just pulled the pin and decided to bring some points home.   

“It’s good to have the [championship] lead now but it’s all a bit irrelevant until we see how the next rounds play out. There will be a dropped round to come into play at some point so probably the next two rounds are going to be crucial.”  

Rally di Roma Capitale for Paddon and his ERC rivals with the Italian asphalt event hosting the action from 26 - 28 July.

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