Symtech Racing and Hayden Paddon proved their strength
On Rally Spain
Even though he had already secured the PWRC title at the Rally of Australia, Hayden Paddon and his Belgian Symtech team were looking forward to exceeding expectations during the penultimate round of the championship in Spain. Unfortunately, they didn’t manage to succeed on the event itself but they were still able to prove how competitive they are on asphalt roads: a result that can be seen as a better achievement than a victory.
After having successfully completed a three-day test prior to the event, the Belgian team was eager to start the rally and fully ready for the challenge. Their hopes were high but they were then let down by an electronic issue that prevented the car from leaving the service area on Friday. This meant they were forced to retire from the first day of the rally, having completed not even a metre. All the team members were very disappointed but they decided to roll up their sleeves and try to solve the problem, in order to take part in the following two days of competition.
At least then they would have had the possibility of gaining some experience on Spanish asphalt roads and seeing how competitive they were compared to their rivals. The result was beyond expectations with Hayden setting some impressive times and relegating his opponents to mere onlookers. Once the remaining 12 stages were completed, Hayden was nearly three minutes ahead of the PWRC leader over the same stages: an incredible result that unfortunately wasn’t enough to win the rally.
Wim De Boeck, Symtech Racing: "We found a tiny piece of tape which prevented electrical contact with the engine management system. This meant that the throttle wasn’t connected and the car couldn’t move. We were out of time even before detecting the problem so it wouldn’t have made much difference, but I really don’t understand how it happened. However, this didn’t discourage Hayden or ourselves as we kept aiming for a good result on Saturday and Sunday. The car was perfect and so was the set-up, allowing Hayden to be very fast. He drove incredibly, setting some very good times, improving on several occasions and demonstrating an advantage of one second per kilometre over the fastest drivers fighting for the win. He secured nine fastest times on the 12 stages he contested: a great result that proves how competitive the combination of the Impreza, Hayden Paddon and Symtech Racing can be. This goes to confirm that we didn’t secure the title just by chance this year. We all wanted to make an impression in Spain and I think we achieved that."
Hayden Paddon: "We were very disappointed about what happened on Friday, but that’s part of the game after all and this kind of thing can happen. We were quite unlucky, that’s all. It had nothing to do with the team or the car itself. I started the rally on Saturday highly motivated and ready to redress the situation. The car was up to the occasion thanks to the team who did an excellent job, fine-tuning the set-up during the tests. I knew we were going to be very competitive on the Spanish asphalt stages but I was really surprised to see how fast we were when we actually started rallying. This was my third asphalt rally so it was a great experience for me. Now, I look forward to Wales Rally GB; I can’t wait to contest this last round to then start working towards next season."
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