Thursday, Oct 11 04:16pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Hayden Paddon looks to secure manufacturers’ title for Hyundai

Just one point separates Hyundai and Subaru in the New Zealand Rally Championship manufacturers’ title race.


This weekend the best rally drivers in the country will contest the Raglan Rally of the Coast. Arriving off the coat tails of a seventh place finish at Rally Wales GB is World Rally Championship driver Hayden Paddon.


The 31-year-old has won all four rallies he’s contested this season, baring the Canterbury Rally that he missed earlier this year.


Paddon will once again pilot his Hyundai i20 AP4+ but this time with former full-time co-driver John Kennard of Blenheim.


Paddon will face opposition from Ben Hunt, who is second in the drivers’ title race and leads for Subaru in the manufacturers’ points standings.


“It promises to be a great day of rallying,” Paddon said.


“I’m very excited to get out on some of the best roads in the world and some of New Zealand’s most iconic rally stages.


“It’s great to have already wrapped up the NZRC drivers’ title at the previous round in Coromandel, but it would mean a lot to Hyundai New Zealand to win the manufacturers’ title.


“They have invested a lot into New Zealand rallying over the past three years since we debuted the AP4+ rally car, so I’d really like to bring this home for them.


“In the manufacturers’ standings, we currently have 100 points, trailing Subaru by just one point. Essentially, whoever wins the rally wins the manufacturers’ championship. It will go down to the wire between Subaru NZ’s lead driver Ben Hunt and myself.”


The rally is made up of just four stages repeated twice with a morning and afternoon loop around Raglan, including the iconic Whanga Coast stage.


The Raglan event is the final NZRC round for 2018 and takes place on Saturday 13 October, with the forecast indicates rain in the Waikato region.


The route includes just over 170km of special stages will be run in the Raglan area, including well-known and popular stages Te Akau South and Whaanga Coast.


The first competitor leaves the Raglan airfield at 7.30am heading for two repeated runs on the Kauri Flat and the Matira stages.


Following a lunchtime service back at the airfield, they head out for a repeated loop of Te Akau South and Whaanga Coast. The ceremonial finish is at the Raglan Club on Bow Street.