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You wouldn’t catch an F1 driver doing this…

Henry Catchpole
3 Dec 2015

Put a Mk2 Ford Escort in the hands of Hayden Paddon, and it's a rally-winning vehicle. It's also spectacular to watch...

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The other day I got an email from my friend Adam Davis, who lives on the other side of the world, asking if I’d seen this excellent on-board video. I hadn’t but now I have and I thought everyone else should see it too. It is of Hayden Paddon driving a historic mk2 Escort with a BDA. It reminded me of several things…

First, New Zealand has arguably the most picturesque gravel rally stages in the world. This was from the Otago Rally based around Dunedin on South Island and it is just spectacular, with fast, flowing stages that have incredible views over beautiful rolling landscape. It could almost have been designed to go in a computer game.

Second, Hayden Paddon is an exceptional driver. You might think this is stating the obvious because he has just signed a three-year WRC deal with Hyundai, but consider this: Paddon won this rally in a ‘70s Mk2 Escort. Not just the historic rally section (in which he saw off, amongst others, Alister McRae), but the overall rally. To do this he beat modern Imprezas and Evos and it was the first time a two-wheel drive car had taken the overall victory since 1987.

Third, this isn’t the first time we have seen current WRC drivers in Historic cars. Jari-Matti Latvala regularly takes part in the Lahti historic rally, as does Mikko Hirvonen. Latvala used to use his own Escort (he’s been in a Quattro for the last two years, more in line with his VW contract) and there is a fantastic video of him showing some supreme commitment, which you can see at the bottom of this page.

Fourth, you wouldn’t catch a current F1 driver competing in an historic ‘70s F1 car.

Fifth, Paddon is soooo smooth with his steering inputs in the Escort.

Sixth, I must get my own mk2 Escort out on some more rallies next year.

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