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Paddon focused on tarmac driving skills

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/09/2016

New Zealand world rallying duo Hayden Paddon and John Kennard are looking to the future as they tackle the rally of 10,000 corners in Corsica later this week.

Paddon says the pair have a clear focus as they prepare for the famed Tour de Corse, with an improved performance on tarmac surface rallies top of the list.

The four-day Corsican rally is the second of three consecutive European tarmac events at the tail end of the WRC season, and Paddon is keen to better his fifth-place finish in Germany last month.

"Obviously we want to be more competitive than Germany and I think this rally suits us better, but the goals are not result-driven," he said.

"It's about improvement and progress to be competing at the front in the future."

Paddon, who finished fifth in last year's rain-interrupted Corsican rally, says it's a pleasure to drive the Corsican roads.

"This is what I would call a more traditional tarmac rally with wider roads, twisty but flowing.

"Yes, a lot of the route is new but Corsica is Corsica. It's called the 'rally of 10,000 corners' for a reason, as it's constant corner after corner and most look the same."

This year, 70 per cent of the special stages are new and the total stage distance is 20 per cent longer.

Despite still only having 10 special stages - the fewest on the calendar - Tour de Corse is second only to Rally Mexico in terms of its total competitive distance at 390.92km.

Tyre wear on the rough and abrasive asphalt is a consideration while navigating tight, twisty mountain roads often bordered on one side by a rock face and the other a steep drop into the sea.

Paddon sits equal third place on the drivers championship points tables alongside Hyundai Motorsport teammates Thierry Neuville with five events remaining in the 14-rally calendar.

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