Paddon secures NZ rally titles in Hawke’s Bay
The ongoing efforts of the entire Paddon Rallysport team were behind Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon as he secured his fifth New Zealand Rally Driver’s Championship at the one-day Rally Hawke’s Bay on 24 July.
Driving his Hyundai i20 AP4 rally car, Paddon also accompanied co-driver John Kennard to his fourth New Zealand Rally Co-driver’s Championship title.
The rally comprised just six special stages and nearly 156km of competition which took crews from the main Napier-Taupo Road, nor-west towards Wairoa, then back towards Napier. Being a one day rally, just one day of recce was permitted with Paddon commenting there was a lot of detail to get into the pace notes.
This was the fourth time Paddon and Kennard had contested the Hawke’s Bay Rally which had not featured in the NZRC calendar for some years. Paddon rated driving what were essentially new roads as both fun and challenging, given the technical nature of the reasonably long stages (average over 25km).
Paddon paid credit to his Paddon Rallysport crew who prepared the Hyundai to run faultlessly as the pair won every stage. They started by pulling out a lead of nearly one minute over second-placed Robbie Stokes on the first 30.33km stage and continued to steadily extend their leading margin throughout the day to win by three minutes, 56.3 seconds.
With the driver’s and co-driver’s championships as well as the team’s cup secured, Paddon is looking forward to Rally Coromandel on 4 September where he aims to also claim the manufacturer’s title for Hyundai New Zealand.
“The day went to plan and it was good to wrap up the championship titles. A big team effort as always and a relief to tick off our goals.
“The Teams Cup is nice to also secure with Ari Pettigrew and myself under the Paddon Rallysport banner. Ari’s a great young driver. We are still aiming for the manufacturer’s title for Hyundai at Coromandel, so we’re not finished yet.
“We contested this rally back in 2006, ’07 and ’08, so a lot of stages we’ve done before but, to be honest, I didn’t remember them after 12 years. So, it was quite a challenge today with a one pass recce yesterday. We just got on with it the job. These are quite technical stages with a lot of information to get into the notes which John did well. We enjoyed the fast, flowing public stages using rural roads and some forestry roads.
“We’re keeping the car and truck in the North Island now ahead of Rally Coromandel in six weeks so will prepare for that.”
Paddon Rallysport values the support of several New Zealand and global companies, including Hyundai New Zealand, Mitre 10 Trade, Z Energy, Pirelli Motorsport, Bar’s Bugs, Winmax Brake Pads, Highlands, Ben Nevis Station, Gravity Internet, Bailey Caravans and Motorhomes New Zealand, Sign It Signs, Queenstown NZ, Repco New Zealand and MA Media Ltd.
Keep up with news on Hayden Paddon and the Paddon Rallysport Hyundai i20 AP4 via the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/paddonrallysport.
Images show Hayden Paddon, John Kennard and the Paddon Rallysport Hyundai i20 AP4 in action in Rally Hawke’s Bay, 24 July 2021. Image credit to Geoff Ridder.