Dominant victory for Symtech Racing in Portugal
Hayden Paddon and John Kennard on the podium
Belgian team Symtech Racing, which is based in Grobbendonk, made a big impression on its debut in the 2011 Production car World Rally Championship. Its crew of Hayden Paddon and John Kennard dominated the Rally of Portugal in their Subaru Impreza STR11, ending the weekend with a clear victory margin of more than eight minutes in the Production category.
After two days of testing last week in Spain, it was clear that Hayden Paddon felt comfortable in the Subaru Impreza STR11. Symtech Racing has developed and built its own Subaru Impreza STR11, and Paddon was able to see the difference straight away compared to some other cars that he had driven. He tested the car for the final time on Monday before the rally started, in order to be completely ready for the action. From the opening stages on Friday, Paddon demonstrated his authority: he ended the day with a 33-second lead. His tactic on the second day was clear: the New Zealander aimed to push over the first three stages in order to have a minute’s margin or so to play with in the afternoon. In the end it turned out to be easier than expected as nobody had an answer to the Paddon-Symtech duo, whose cushion at the end of the second day was up to 6m35s.
Sunday was a much calmer day, with the priority being to get to the finish, but on SS15 a rear suspension arm broke. Paddon was able to make running repairs in order to get back to service and end rally with a win in the PWRC category, more than eight minutes ahead of Finnish driver Jukka Ketomaki.
Wim De Boeck (Symtech Racing): "After the hard work of recent months, we are obviously very happy to come home to Belgium with a victory under our belts. Hayden drove a fantastic rally: fast, clean and risk-free. From our point of view, the Subaru Impreza STR11 worked very well: proving to be rapid and reliable, as we build all our cars. The only problem we had all weekend was on Sunday morning. On such a challenging event, that’s quite exceptional. We’re very pleased with the way that the season has started, especially as we seem to have quickly got on top of our PWRC rivals. We’re really keen to get to Argentina now."
Hayden Paddon: "What a fantastic way to begin our collaboration with Symtech Racing! There are only six rounds in the PWRC season, so this first victory is incredibly important to us. The team did an excellent job and our Subaru Impreza STR11 was perfect. We’ll continue to work hard on all of the rallies to come. "
The next round of the PWRC season will be the Rally Argentina, from 27-29 May.
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