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Paddon consolidates in Welsh rally

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/10/2016

Hayden Paddon of New Zealand during the press conference of the WRC Portugal on May 19, 2016 in Porto, Portugal © Getty Hayden Paddon of New Zealand during the press conference of the WRC Portugal on May 19, 2016 in Porto, Portugal Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon has battled through a frustrating second day at Wales Rally GB to consolidate fourth place with six stages remaining.

Paddon and co-driver John Kennard overcame rain, mud and fog to finish strongly, despite driving the final of the day's eight stages with a puncture.

A gap of just 3.8 seconds separates them from third-placed Hyundai team-mate Thierry Neuville, although rally leader Sebastien Ogier (Volkswagen) is nearly two minutes ahead.

Paddon said the first two days had been demanding..

"We expected dry conditions but it's been pretty typical - wet, muddy with a lot of fog - so it's been really hard to gauge the grip and read the grip level.

"We struggled a little bit; it's not my ideal type of conditions that I like to drive in. We're not here to finish fourth or fifth - we want to give it everything and try and get on the podium."

Paddon and Kennard negotiated seven greasy gravel stages in the Snowdonia Mountains early on Sunday (NZT) as well as a 1.8km stage around Cholmondeley Castle on day two.

Paddon said he'd struggled with confidence in the car and his driving during the morning.

"I just need to find the rhythm. Okay, we haven't dropped too much time but we definitely need to pull finger, find my mojo and push on.

"I haven't been able to drive my natural way - we're trying the best with what we've got, trying to learn as much as we can as we go along.

"We're still close, we're still within 12 seconds and there's a long way to go."

Paddon was fourth overall heading into the WRC's two final rallies, in Wales and Australia.

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