The Hyundai pairing stated their goal for this rally was to relax, enjoy the stages and let the results come.
In Friday’s dusty forestry stages, Paddon struggled with
engine power issues early on to go into the lunchtime service holding seventh
overall. A strong fourth-fastest run on Friday afternoon’s SS5 elevated the
kiwi/Brit pair to fifth, but tyre wear was among the reasons which saw them
drop back to seventh by day’s end.
Paddon and Marshall go mudding on a Sunday
Saturday bought mixed weather conditions and a performance from Paddon and Marshall that was more representative of their abilities, as they moved up the leader-board to fifth overall following seven stages and 120 competitive kilometres (SS14 was cancelled due to a damaged bridge).
Heavy rain overnight meant Sunday’s stages featured mud and
standing water, plus unpredictable showers added to the day’s challenges,
creating trickier than expected conditions. Despite these challenges, Paddon
and Marshall enjoyed their strongest day of the weekend, securing a stage win
on SS18 in relatively good conditions while heavy rain affected most other
competitors. With the demise of fourth-placed Craig Breen who rolled on that
stage, the pair were on course to take fourth place overall. Then, the last
minute drama of Jari-Matti Latvala crashing out of second place on the very
last stage of the rally, the power stage, elevated Paddon and Marshall to
Back on the podium!
“It has been a difficult season for me,” Paddon says, “At least we have been able to bring the year to an end with a more representative result. We never want to score a podium through someone else’s misfortune, and it’s a shame for Jari-Matti, but it’s a nice result for us after a tough year."