Symtech Racing and Paddon are preparing for PWRC
"I am really looking forward to getting behind the wheel and trying our new Subaru out"
New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon is counting down the days until his Production World Rally Championship (PWRC) campaign starts with his new team, Symtech Racing, in just three weeks.
After Paddon’s recent announcement that he had formed the New Zealand World Rally Team to contest the prestigious global production car series and switching to Subaru, the response has been phenomenal as rally fans and Kiwi sports enthusiasts get behind the team’s tilt at the 2011 PWRC title.
Paddon, along with regular co-driver John Kennard from Blenheim, depart New Zealand bound for Europe on 12 March, a week before the Portuguese event gets underway with its official reconnaissance runs through each stage. During the week commencing 14 March, Paddon and Kennard meet the Symtech Racing team in Spain to meet the full rally crew for the first time and conduct a two-day test.
"I am really looking forward to getting behind the wheel and trying our new Subaru out," says Paddon. "We have plenty of time to test it, so we will take a measured approach of first learning the car, then adapting the setup to fine-tune it to my driving style."
The New Zealand World Rally Team revealed their car’s striking livery last week, which features a classic New Zealand black and white colour scheme and the country’s national symbol, a silver fern. Paddon said it was important to also incorporate green in the car’s livery as his successful New Zealand-based team – dubbed Team Green – has featured green as its predominate colour for many years.
Meantime in Belgium, the Symtech Racing crew is ahead of schedule as they continue working on the completion of the Subaru Impreza STR11 that Paddon and Kennard will pilot. "All is going well and we really look forward to start working with Hayden and John! It will be a very exciting season this year," says Wim De Boeck from Symtech Racing.
"The car is going to look great! It’s a huge personal honour to carry the New Zealand colours into international competition, and to also take our Team Green theme to the world stage, it’s fantastic to continue that link to something with such strong symbolism for our hard-working team in New Zealand," says Paddon.
As part of the preparations and negotiations for this year, Paddon and the other directors of Hayden Paddon Rallysport Global Ltd, the company backing Paddon’s bid to become the world rally champion, have been holding meetings with various influential people to talk about both this year’s and future plans. Recent meetings include an opportunity to talk with New Zealand’s Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, Rt. Hon. John Key, and Minister of Sport, Rt. Hon. Murray McCully.
"It was fantastic to meet the Prime Minister and Minister McCully. They were both really interested in what we are doing and also understand the opportunities that we have on the world stage to help promote New Zealand as a destination. Whether anything more comes of these meetings is yet to be seen, but it feels a very constructive to have made the most of the opportunities to let them know who I am and what I do," says Paddon after returning home to Geraldine this week.
Now Paddon and Kennard have just three weeks to make final preparations before their PWRC
Hayden Paddon’s 2011 Production World Rally Championship calendar
24-27 March – Vodafone Rally de Portugal
26-29 May – Rally Argentina
28-31 July – Neste Oil Rally Finland
8-11 Sept – Rally Australia
20-23 Oct – Rally de Espana (Rally Spain)
10-13 Nov – Wales Rally GB
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