Hayden Paddon and John Kennard have won 12 of 14 stages to power to a seven-minute win in this year’s Rally of Otago.
The duo overcame some niggling issues on the final day, including multiple punctures, to set 11 new stage records and claim a dominant victory.
“We’re very happy; it’s awesome to come away with a win, particularly after the off-season and how busy it’s been for the team,” Paddon said.
“We couldn’t ask for anything more. It was a shame we couldn’t quite get the clean sweep of stages, but two tyres delaminated on us today.
“It was great to have John in the car again – he did an amazing job and I wouldn’t expect anything else to be honest! He can hop straight back in and get on with it, so that’s pretty impressive.”
Paddon entered the day with a 3m27s lead over Dylan Turner.
Just two stages into the day and that lead was beyond five minutes.
However, Turner’s incredible run abruptly ended with a heavy shunt on stage 11 at Table Hill.
That promoted Ben Hunt into second. Though that too proved brief as an electrical issue kept the Subaru WRX STi grounded for the rest of the rally.
Other notable retirees included John Hawkeswood and Grant Blackberry.
The fight for second then become a multi-car scrap led by the Holden Barina AP4 of Josh Marston.
Sitting only two minutes clear of Regan Ross leading into the final 15km stage at Buri Bush, Marston steered clear of drama and was able to hold onto second.
“We had improved pace today and I felt much better in the car,” Marston said.
“I wouldn’t have thought a podium was possible this time yesterday but we kept it straight and survived a tough event.”
Ross and co-driver Katrina Renshaw rounded off the podium in their Ford Fiesta R5.
“I didn’t have the outright speed but we kept it in the middle of the road,” Ross said.
“The pace will come and this is a great result for everyone that has helped us to this point.”
Aaron Slight finished a respectable 13th in the Classic rally class in his first try at rallying, completing all 14 stages.
The same went for fellow Superbike rider Avalon Biddle who was seventh in the GPA 4WD class.
The next round of the New Zealand Rally Championship will be the International Rally of Whangarei on May 14-16.
|FIA Group N||Dylan Thomson|
|Open Class 2WD||Brent Taylor|
|Rally Challenge 4WD||Andy Martin|
|Rally Challenge 2WD||Sam Byrne|
|Classic (0-1300cc)||Kerry Sloan|
|Classic (1301-1700cc)||Miles McElwain|
|Classic (1701cc +)||Deane Buist|
|Allcomers (1301-1600cc)||Tim Mackersy|
|Allcomers (1601cc +)||Neville Kidd|
|Allcomers 4WD||Andy Martin|
|GPA 4WD||Matthew Wright|
|Group NZ 4WD||Todd Bawden|