13 Feb 2016

Paddon second in Sweden

8:18 am on 13 February 2016

Geraldine driver Hayden Paddon has won two stages on the Rally of Sweden to sit in second place on the leaderboard, behind world champion Sebastian Ogier.

Hayden Paddon in action at WRC Sweden

Hayden Paddon in action at WRC Sweden Photo: Timo Anis

With road conditions much improved since recce two days ago, the Swedish rally was able to get underway with six stages on Friday instead of the scheduled eight.

Paddon finished the morning sixth overall in the new Hyundai, and said the first three stages weren't easy with the road position.

"Driving the car in competition for the first time means a few things to adapt to," Paddon said.

And he hoped get a bit closer as he knew from experience that the afternoon loops were better with the road conditions improving.

As heavy snow started to fall, the three stages were run in reverse order for the afternoon, and Paddon and navigator John Kennard were able to push on to win the final two stages of the day and leapfrog competitors suffering mechanical woes.

"To be in second was much more than we were expecting, especially after this morning," Paddon said.

"To come up to second, to be in a good close fight with four or five of us to be on the podium tomorrow is a nice position to be in. but it's going to be a big fight, very close, we have to try and find some improvements overnight, try and get a bit more comfortable in the car. There's a lot more room for improvement so we have to keep pushing."

Paddon and Kennard could benefit again on Saturday with their road position of ninth (running order is decided by championship places for the first two days) when more snow is forecast.

Just 15 seconds separates Paddon in second and Andreas Mikkelsen in sixth, setting up a closely-fought five-way battle - at the very least.