Hayden Paddon finishes in fourth as all four team cars complete this weekend’s difficult event
July 5, 2015 Our team has had an impressive four-car finish at this weekend’s Rally Poland, round seven of the WRC Championship. It was the first time that we have entered four cars into an event.
Hayden finished the race in fifth but was elevated to fourth after Jari-Matti Latvalas accident in the Power Stage. Thierry Neuville completed the race in sixth, while Dani Sordo finished the rally comfortably inside the top ten. Kevin Abbring, our fourth driver, finished his second event under our team banner and continues to gain experience.
The new-look Rally Poland has been a big challenge with pace notes constantly changing throughout the three days of action. Fast gravel roads and thrilling crests have featured in this rally. Saturday’s SS14 was cancelled in the weekend’s only change of itinerary. The final morning saw drivers run the Baranowo stage twice, lastly as the Power Stage.
It is the second consecutive top-four finish for Hayden, continuing his success from his second place finish in Sardinia. It’s been a good weekend for us overall, said the young Kiwi. We have been able to secure another strong finish. It wasn’t the most straightforward rally in terms of finding rhythm and confidence on the fast gravel but we have persevered and can be satisfied. There are always things we can do to go faster, but considering the new routes things have gone well. The team has worked hard and a four-car finish is a good result. We can now use the experiences of this weekend to prepare for Finland where more fast routes await.
Thierry was able to take sixth place despite a spectacular roll in the morning’s SS18, which he escaped without significant damage. It’s been a good weekend and we are pleased with all we have achieved, said the Belgian. We have shown some good pace and have only been hurt by some incorrect tyre choices. This morning wasn’t what we wanted when we rolled. I didn’t know what happened but we were very lucky to continue and finish. We have picked up some good manufacturer points, which is the most important thing. We can look to Finland with optimism.
Dani faced a challenging weekend but had a reliable run and will look to put this weekend’s experiences to good use at the next rally. In all honesty we are not where we want to be, said the Spaniard. We want to be fighting at the front but have enjoyed the stages and had fun driving. We have struggled to get more out of the car and ourselves. The rally has been quicker than we imagined and we’ve been a bit slow in most corners. We tried to push but it’s never easy when you have to be so precise. We need to work better for the next rally, which will be another fast event and accurate pace notes will be very important. Let’s hope Finland is a better event for us!
Kevin has taken a disciplined approach to his second event with our team. He picked up confidence day-by-day and used the event as a valuable learning experience. I am extremely happy to have reached the end of this rally, said the Dutchman. I have enjoyed these fantastic and fast stages, which forced us to adapt a fast learning curve. We have had to make some adjustments and updates to our pace notes over the weekend. In some stages, I wish I could have trusted the notes more to push a little but the priority was to finish and we’ve done that. It’s a pleasure to be part of the line-up for this rally and three more this season. We will use all of our experience from Poland to prepare for our next rally, which will be at Rallye Deutschland next month.
The team added more valuable Championship points to its 2015 tally and there are now just two points separating second and third in the Manufacturers’ standings. It is a thrilling battle that will continue at the next round in Finland.
Firstly, I am delighted that we have been able to get all four cars to the conclusion of this Rally Poland, commented Team Principal Michel Nandan. It’s the first time we have entered four cars into a WRC event so to get a 100% finish is a real testament to our drivers and the team. Hayden has had a strong rally and it’s pleasing to see him in the top five again, making up a position at the end due to Jari-Matti’s accident. Thierry, too, has had a good weekend. His roll this morning was spectacular and he was lucky to get away without major damage. He has added more important points to his and the team’s totals. Dani has not had an easy weekend but is to be commended for his consistent approach and for picking up a top ten result. Kevin has used this weekend as a learning experience and has achieved his target of getting to the finish. All in all, we have some positives and some things to improve. We are looking forward to Finland.