Sunday, Nov 26 04:39pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Hayden Paddon wins every stage in Rally New Zealand domination

After what was a tough season on the world stage, Kiwi Hayden Paddon has finished his 2017 season on a high with a truly dominant performance in a historic Rally New Zealand return. 


Paddon and co-driver John Kennard won all 12 stages in the two-day rally, which took in iconic stages like Whaanga Coast and Te Akau South. 


Driving their Hyundai i20 AP4+, the duo dominated all 227 kilometres of the rally with a winning margin of over seven minutes to their nearest rivals Matt and Nicole Summerfield. Paddon set new stage records on half of the stages last weekend despite setting the pace as the road sweeper. 


"It was great fun; a good, relaxed atmosphere where everyone gets on with everyone,” Paddon said.


“John and I enjoyed being back in the car together for this last event in New Zealand. It was an awesome weekend.


“Being first on the road – that’s the way rallying is, someone’s got to sweep the roads and it’s actually quite enjoyable as you can make your own line.


"The second pass you’re more restricted as you’ve got follow the swept line, as that’s the fastest line to drive. There was a massive difference between the first and second passes this weekend, so I was rapt the Pirelli tyres held up well, considering the really hard conditions.


"Considering there were a lot of punctures and heavy tyre wear for other competitors, Pirellis seemed to handle it really well.”


The return of Rally New Zealand was a historic moment for the domestic rallying scene as organisers chase the return of the World Rally Championship. This year's event served as a test run for a possible return of Rally New Zealand to the world championship.


“Rally New Zealand ran an extremely good event. These are world-class stages, especially the stages on Saturday which took us to Whaanga Coast and Te Akau South, both used in earlier World Rally Championship events.


"They are some of the best roads in the world and great fun to drive whatever car you’re in."


Photo: Geoff Ridder