Podium goal in familiar leg of WRC

Hayden Paddon.
Hayden Paddon.
A podium finish is the goal for Hayden Paddon this weekend.

The New Zealand rally driver has plenty of experience in the Finland leg of the FIA World Rally Championship, which begins tomorrow.

The only event Paddon has contested every year since 2010, the course is more familiar to him than even home rallies in New Zealand.

This year's Rally Finland has several route changes, but Paddon said those were largely new configurations of sections of stages done in previous years.

The rally will still be fast, but narrower than last year, which will suit us and our car better.

British co-driver Seb Marshall also has plenty of experience, having raced the rally seven times.

''Doing this event for the ninth time makes me feel somewhat old,'' Paddon said.

''But you can't underestimate the value of crucial experience on a specialist event like this, so the fact this is the single event I have the most experience of is something I feel very comfortable with.''

The duo comes off a second-placed finish at Rally Estonia, which they decided to use to prepare for Finland's high speed stages, rather than a usual pre-event test.

''It was really good preparation. The road surface was maybe a little different but in competition testing allowed us to learn a lot and give us some good settings for Finland.''

The rally tended to be a close one and being consistent across the stages was a focus for Paddon and Marshall.

''This weekend the aim, first and foremost, is to try and be ahead of our Hyundai team-mates who have been in good form.

''Beyond that, we know how close this rally is every year between everyone in the top 10.

''The target is to be setting top-five times every stage which should give us a chance to fight amongst the podium come Sunday.''

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