All goes to plan for Paddon at South Canterbury Rally, NZ
Hayden Paddon made the most of his return to his home rallying roads by winning the one-day Rally South Canterbury on 19 June in his Hyundai i20 AP4 with a handy margin of three minutes, 25.9 seconds.
With co-driver John Kennard alongside for this third round of the 2021 New Zealand Rally Championship, Paddon is only five points away from securing the championship title with two rounds to go.
The Kiwi rally star says, as the whole, the Paddon Rallysport team ticked all the boxes, namely secure to the rally win, win as many stages as possible and to set new stage records wherever possible. They were expecting the morning’s forestry stages to deliver challenging conditions. The stages certainly delivered those challenges with ice and mud proving tricky for numerous competitors to conquer and many falling by the wayside. But Paddon kept it clean and tidy – after three stages and 66km of rallying, he’d had extended his lead over the ever-decreasing field to one minute, 21.8 seconds.
As the afternoon progressed in finer than expected conditions, Paddon and Kennard continued to savour the high speed roads Paddon grew up competing on, taking their leading margin to over two minutes, 37 seconds by the end of SS7.
Next came the only glitch of the day – Paddon stalled the Hyundai while crossing a river in SS8, allowing Ben Hunt to win that stage.
Paddon’s run on the day’s final and tenth stage is a good example of the new speed records he set on six of today’s special stages. Paddon’s own record for four laps of the Levels racetrack on gravel tyres, set in 2019, was six minutes, 12.6 seconds. Today, he powered the AP4 Hyundai around the same course in just five minutes and 1.5 seconds.
“It was a good day with no major issues. Everything went smoothly and we really enjoyed it.
“The stages were slippery this morning with ice and mud, so the forestry stages were a bit of a challenge. John and I tried to keep it clean and tidy to build up a bit of a gap.
“This afternoon it was about keeping it tidy to get to the end. In SS8 we were taking it easy this afternoon and looking after everything but unfortunately in the river crossing, I stalled the car and had to try and restart it in the river so lost some time there.
“As a whole, we ticked all the boxes and are now just five points away from winning the championship.
“The whole Paddon Rallysport team did a phenomenal job as always, especially as they were running three cars today. A lot of work’s gone into being ready for today and it all went to plan.”
Paddon Rallysport head to the fourth round of the New Zealand Rally Championship, the one-day Rally Hawke’s Bay on 24 July.
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.
By Kate Gordon-Smith [Media Manager HPRG Ltd]
Photo Credit: Aaron Staples/ASP - showing Hayden Paddon, John Kennard and the Paddon Rallysport Hyundai i20 AP4 in action in Rally South Canterbury, 19 June 2021.