Hayden Paddon will headline this year’s 20th edition of the Catlins Coast Rally slated for August 8.
The Kiwi rally star and World Rally Championship round winner will tackle the popular event in his Hyundai i20 AP4 in preparation for his 2020 rallying calendar which includes the City of Auckland Rally and the Battle of Jack’s Ridge in November.
Paddon is expected to dominate the event which has enticed his interest with a promised 153 kilometres of high-speed Special Stages on offer for competitors.
Last month Paddon confirmed plans were in the pipeline to make a return to the WRC with a privateer Hyundai outfit which would have included a crack at the much-anticipated Rally New Zealand event.
However, the global pandemic saw those plans curtailed and Rally New Zealand was cancelled indefinitely with no comment on whether it will return in 2021.
With his international rallying plans disrupted, the flying Kiwi now has the golden opportunity to showcase his talent on the national circuit and is a huge drawcard for event promoters.
Reigning New Zealand Rally Champion Ben Hunt is another big name to confirm his presence in the event and will be behind the wheel of a Subaru H6 two-wheel-drive machine.
Paddon’s largest threat will likely be the rapid Mitsubishi Mirage of Matt Summerfield while four-time victor Andrew Graves, who has contested the event since its inception, will hit the course in his EVO 3.
Last year’s third-place finisher and three-time winner, Dean Bond of Balclutha, makes his rally return as does last year’s Rankleburn Rally victor Carter Strang.
One of the first major rally events in the country since lockdown, event organisers are expecting a large turnout of spectators, with over seventy entries already confirmed to partake in the rally.
The 2020 Catlins Coast Rally gets underway from 10 am Saturday, August 8.
Main Image: Euan Cameron