26 Oct 2015

Paddon happy with sixth in Spain

11:52 am on 26 October 2015

The Geraldine driver Hayden Paddon is happy with his performance to finish in sixth position in Rally Spain, the penultimate event of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship.

Hayden Paddon in action in Spain.

Hayden Paddon in action in Spain. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Paddon started the final six tarmac stages of Rally de España in joint seventh place with exactly the same total time as their Hyundai Motorsport team-mate Thierry Neuville.

Paddon had to concede seventh to Neuville for the morning's opening stage, but regained the position with a top-five time in the next test.

He had a steady run through the remaining competitive stages, pushing on the penultimate stage to set the third-quickest time - his second of the rally - to hold seventh going into the final stage. Unexpectedly rally leader Sébastien Ogier crashed, elevating Paddon and Kennard into sixth place and their team-mate Dani Sordo onto the podium with third.

"It's been a reasonably good rally to come home with a good position," said Paddon. "In particular, our improvements on tarmac and setting a couple of top three times along the way is a nice improvement and confirms things from Corsica that we're heading in the right direction on tarmac."

The Spanish event is unique in that Friday's stages are predominantly gravel, while Saturday and Sunday's are on fast, flowing tarmac roads.

"All in all, it's not been a bad weekend, although there is always room for improvement. We have tried to keep the pressure on the guys in front of us and I think we can be pretty satisfied with sixth.

"We now look forward to the gravel of Wales Rally GB, the final rally of the season, with our focus on helping the team in the fight for second in the championship. It would nice to try and stitch together some of these split and stage times to bring home a good result for everybody."

Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen in a Volkswagen won the rally from team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland with Paddon's Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo of Spain third.

Neuville finished eighth.

Ogier leads the championship from Latvala and Mikkelsen, Paddon is ninth.

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