Hayden Paddon End of Season Interview

Hyundai Motorsport
2017 Team Launch
Monza, 1st December 2016
Hayden Paddon
Photographer: Sarah Vessely
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Welcome to my end season catch up with the young, fast Kiwi, Hayden Paddon. After his best season at the top the rallying world, he took some time out of his busy end of season schedule to answer some questions about his year.

This year he showed much improved consistency securing three podiums which also included a first win! On all other events, he also improved his finishing position by one to two positions compared to the 2015 season.

Warren

Firstly, out of all of your drives this year, which one, other than your first victory are you most proud of?

Hayden

Poland – it was off the back of two very bad rally’s and was mentally very tough. To come back with a podium was a big relief.

Warren

Regarding your first victory, which was in Argentina, was it a surprise to take the win there, especially that you beat Seb in such a great way in the power stage?

2016 FIA World Rally Championship / Round 04 / Rally Argentina // April 21-24, 2016 // Worldwide Copyright: Hyundai Motorsport

Hayden

Of course, to win in that matter was a dream come true. Even today it’s something that I’m very happy about, but of course 1 win is never enough and now that we have the taste – we want more.

Warren

Now a question about your use of Twitter. After each event, you hold an Ask Paddon session and reply to fans. Are you surprised how many fans ask questions and what is the most surprising question you’ve been asked?

Hayden

Yes, it’s great to interact with the fans and that people get involved – i really enjoy it. Generally, most questions are pretty straight forward but I don’t hide behind any questions or comments. I like being up front and honest.

Warren

This year at Rally de Catalunya, you showed much improved pace on tarmac, finishing in 4th compared to 6th the year before. What would you put this down to?

Hayden

During Corsica, we discovered we were going backwards with our tarmac driving. So, during that rally we reverted back to a way of driving the car that was more natural, and ever since that it has clicked a lot better. Still room for improvement, but to be ahead of Thierry and Dani on some of the tarmac stages in Spain was a good step

Warren

Right, comparing this year’s car, with the 2017 Hyundai, what are the main things that are most noticeable from behind the wheel?

Hayden

Obviously, the extra power is the first thing, and the extra width of the car. The active diffs are also very nice and allow us to tune the car more individually for different drivers, which is suiting my style quite nicely.

Warren

Recently, you answered one of my questions during your Ask Paddon twitter sessions regarding the amount of km’s of testing in the new car, and you answered at the time around 800km’s over tarmac and gravel. On which surface, have you done more than the other?

Hayden

I have only done 1 day of testing on tarmac – it has mostly been on gravel. We will have 2 more days before Monte, but not a lot.

Warren

How surprised were you when Volkswagen pulled out of the championship?

Hayden

Just like everyone else – very shocked. It come very suddenly and unexpectedly

Warren

Which driver do you get on with the most out of the current crop of drivers?

Hayden

I think most drivers get on well. I have a good friendship with our team mate Dani and it’s good to work with someone who is very open and not afraid to offer me advice and help. But generally, all drivers get on.

Warren

Now that you and John have won your first WRC event, what are your hopes for next year in regards to results?

Hayden

We need to keep making steps forward – the closer we get to the top the smaller and harder the steps get. We are searching for more speed in 2017 – more stage wins and of course many more podiums.

Warren

Have you been following any other motorsport championships through this year?

Hayden

I follow most forms of motorsport, although with how busy our schedules are its sometimes hard to follow closely. Formula 1 I have always enjoyed to keep an eye on and local rally championships back in NZ

Warren

Lastly, what is the latest news on the possibility of a return of in the next couple of years of the WRC to New Zealand?

Hayden

It’s looking promising and everyone in the service park is positive about this. Of course, there are a lot of formalities taking place behind the scenes but we have done everything we can. We are all hopeful for 2018.

I’d like to thank Hayden and Katie, his PR manager for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’re not already following him on Twitter, I recommend you do. Finally I wish him and his family a Happy Christmas and Great New Year.

Warren Nel

@Warren_S_Nel

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