Friday, Sep 14 08:22pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Hayden Paddon runs fifth as drivers struggle in "horrible" conditions

Hayden Paddon sits fifth after the first morning loop of Rally Turkey on day one.


The Hyundai Motorsport driver started the morning strongly with the second fastest time behind Citroën pilot Craig Breen of Ireland.


Paddon fluctuated up and down the leader board through stages two, three and four, but by the first service he lay 20.4 second back of the leaders.


Teammate Andreas Mikkelsen leads the rally just 6.3 seconds ahead of Breen, Mads Østberg , Thierry Neuville and Paddon.


Being one of the last drivers on the road, Paddon had the privilege of having the road swept before him. However, the Geraldine-born driver said the conditions were so bad that there was little in the way of tyre tracks forming.


“It’s really difficult, as I'm sure everyone is saying,” Paddon said after the first stage.


“It is really hard to gauge the speed when it is so tricky. It’s nice to come in and know we've not dropped a whole lot [of time].”


The rough rocky conditions meant there were fears early retirements might plat a factor, but the field managed to make it to the first service park of the day.


“It’s really rough, it's not really sweeping,” he added.


“There are some big rocks on the top. The car felt weird on this one, like something is broken or I've bent the rear arm or something.


“Everything looks okay visually. But we'll check it out with the guys back in service.


“I thought this stage went alright but then the time isn't great. I’m not getting any gain with the road condition.”


Paddon wasn’t the only driver suffering. Fellow Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville managed to finish the morning loop in fourth despite being the first on the road.


His morning woes were compounded by an early morning wake up.


“First we had the fire alarm in the hotel in the morning and we had to evacuate,” he said.


“Then to start the day with this test is demanding. At a few points we had to really slow down. Our car works well in these conditions, but I could have done better." 


“It's horrible conditions to be first on the road.


“There are no lines and the wheels are spinning. It is more dry on this one, I try to do a good stage, the feeling was quite okay but there is a huge amount of cleaning.”


The rally continues with a repeat of the same three stages in the afternoon.


WRC Rally Turkey Day One, results after SS4 of SS17: 


Pos Driver Tme/Gap/Diff
1 Craig Breen   30:38.7
2 Andreas Mikkelsen +4.8
3 Mads Østberg  +10.7
4 Hayden Paddon +11.9
5 Jari-Matti Latvala  +12.0
6 Thierry Neuville  +18.2
7 Esapekka Lappi  +22.0
8 Sebastien Ogier  +28.6
9 Ott Tänak +32.4
10 Teemu Suninen +32.7


Photo: Hyundai