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Paddon drops back to fourth

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/11/2016

Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon lies fourth after nine stages in Rally Australia at Coff's Harbour, dropping three places after taking an early lead two stages in.

Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen, ranked third in the drivers' standings, has opened up a commanding 16.8sec lead over world champion teammate Sebastien Ogier.

Paddon's Hyundai teammate Thierry Neuville is putting up a valiant fight to hold on to second in the overall championship standings, sitting third in the event.

Neuville is 14 points ahead of Mikkelsen in the standings and a podium finish on Sunday would ensure he finishes second.

Paddon jumped into the lead after winning the 16.75km Bakers Creek second stage, but half-spun four times on the fourth stage to drop 12.6 seconds on Mikkelsen.

"The balance was completely wrong," Paddon said of the fourth-stage gamble where he ran three soft tyres and one hard.

"We went full sideways and had to come out of the throttle and wait for the car to come back."

Despite losing time, Paddon was confident looking ahead to Saturday's competition.

"No drama at all. There will be a good fight tomorrow. The stages will suit me better and we'll be in a good position."

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