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Cautious start for Paddon in Spanish rally

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/10/2016

Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon has eased around the rain-soaked streets of Barcelona to finish 10th fastest in the 3.2km opening shakedown stage of Rally de Espana.

Paddon, currently placed fourth overall with two events remaining on the WRC calendar, was 6.4 seconds slower than stage winner Ott Tanak of Estonia.

The New Zealander, driving for Hyundai Motorsport, said the steadily increasing rain made for tricky conditions.

"Tried to keep it clean, taking it slowly in places - overall, a good way to start the rally," he said.

Tanak, driving a Ford Fiesta RS, was 2.7sec quicker than Italian Lorenzo Bertelli with Sebastien Ogier - in his bid for a fourth consecutive world title - a further .8sec back in third.

The asphalt test became increasingly tricky as afternoon heavier rain meant standing water and aquaplaning were a common complaint from drivers starting later in the order.

The Spanish rally is the only mixed surface event on the WRC calendar, two days of asphalt blended with a day of primarily gravel stages.

A 12.2km gravel stage begins racing on day two, which takes in six stages, including two which combine asphalt and gravel.

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