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Paddon aims for trouble-free rally start

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/06/2017

Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon says his top priority is to stay out of early trouble in the Rally Italia in Sardinia.

Alongside new co-driver Sebastian Marshall, Paddon has modest goals for the opening day of the 19-stage rally which is based at the coast town of Alghero.

"It's key to have a clean, even if more unspectacular, Friday," he said.

"Too often this year we have had problems on the first day which puts you on the back foot for the rest of the rally when they re-seed the field into reverse rally classification."

Paddon and Marshall were forced to sit out the final day of Rally Portugal because of electrical problems following power steering woes over the two previous days.

Paddon says the pair are focusing on finding the passion and enjoyment of competing at the highest level of world rallying, rather than worrying about results.

"We're keeping our focus on having a clean event and enjoying it. If we can do that, the result will naturally come."

Paddon will be contesting his fourth Rally Italia, and says the challenging rally is one of the hottest and roughest events in Europe.

"It's a rally that rewards clean, smart driving and not necessarily all-out speed.

"We have a plan in place that we look to deliver and if we can do that, a result should naturally come to us."

Paddon is currently sitting eighth on the WRC drivers' championship points table, with six events remaining after this weekend's rally.

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