The Goodwood Festival of Speed is the highlight of any racing fan’s calendar – whether you are a member of the media, a general car-mad fanatic or a racing driver yourself. The dynamic display of motorsport memorabilia in addition to the beastly modern-day machinery that is paraded up the famous hillclimb, makes it an event like no other in the world.
It was the perfect start for the new era of the FIA World Rally Championship: four different winners from four manufacturers in the first four races of the calendar. It’s a statistic that any motorsport series could struggle to beat and although it’s unlikely that another manufacturer could become the fifth consecutive winner in Argentina this weekend, another rally winner is a high possibility.
If you watched Rally Mexico over the weekend, you will know Kris Meeke as the lunatic that lost control of his Citroen C3 in the final minutes of the last stage and ended up in a spectator car park. Importantly Meeke was just 750 meters away from a fourth World Rally Championship win and had just seconds to perform the perfect U-turn and get back on to the stage before crossing the crucial finish line. He did so in spectacular fashion, securing the fourth win of his WRC career and his first of 2017, as the rest of the world picked our jaws up off the floor after witnessing one of the most sensational finishes to a rally. Ever.
With 76 starts to his name Meeke, and his co-driver Paul Nagle, have all the right ingredients to win the championship this year. After Citroen spent a sabbatical year engineering a phenomenal car, in addition to Meeke’s experience, speed and agility, this is the first season in Meeke’s WRC career where he has been gifted a car that could see him win the drivers’ championship – the first Britain to do so since the late Richard Burns in 2001.
With such a strong start to the year in January, February would always prove a hard act to follow. Although most of the month was spent planning and booking travel for future motorsport events, I did manage to publish a very special interview with a World Rally Championship star and attend filming for the new BBC Top Gear series. However with a lack of racing I am desperate for the return of the likes of Formula 1 and MotoGP to really bring my blog back to life! Continue reading “My Motorsport Month: February 2017”
As the World Rally Championship welcomed in a new era to the sport last month, 29-year-old Hayden Paddon was considered by many as being a possible title threat for the 2017 championship. Winning his maiden WRC rally in Argentina last year, in addition to securing another two podiums, the New Zealand driver will continue to race for Hyundai this year with John Kennard remaining his trusted co-driver.
I caught up with Paddon ahead of Rally Sweden later this week to discuss the changes to the sport for the new year, his targets for the season and how the future looks for rallying in New Zealand.