20 May 2017

Paddon hit by car problems in Portugal

9:44 am on 20 May 2017

The New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon is in 24th place after the first full day of the Rally of Portugal after his Hyundai was hampered by electrical problems.

New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon competing at Rally Great Britain in Wales.

New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon competing at Rally Great Britain in Wales. Photo: Timo Ani

Paddon won two of the eight stages today but lost a lot of ground in the seventh stage with the car problems.

Paddon took the overall rally lead with his win in the first stage of the day, but bad luck which has hampered his campaign this season wasn't far away.

He finished almost 11 minutes off the pace in 59th place on the seventh stage to drop down the field.

"Certainly, a case of what could have been again," said Paddon. "Today's certainly been a very positive day for the future anyway, with the changes we made before the rally, everything was working a lot better in the car and the setup. The confidence was good so we were able to set some fastest stage times. Okay, we had a small electrical problem on the morning loop which cost us seven seconds but other than that, it was all going to plan.

"And then this afternoon we made some setup changes which worked really well for the repeat runs. It was going really well, we had a good tyre strategy, everything was working really well in the car and we'd just taken the lead only for the car to stop with an electronic problem halfway through the last stage. That puts paid to any result for this rally. It's frustrating, it's yet again a story of bad luck. We're not quite sure what's caused the problem. The team will get it rectified and we'll come back and get some experience for the last two days. We'll keep working and keep moving forward because I'm sure this run of bad luck will turn around soon."

Ott Taenak of Estonia in a Ford leads from Paddon's team-mate Dani Sordo of Spain with Sebastien Ogier of France in a Ford third.

Paddon is almost 11 minutes off the lead.

The rally continues tonight.