Ben Nevis Station - Golden 1200 HillclimbFar North RallyHaunui Jacks Ridge Super Show
International Rally of WhangareiNewstead Lodge RallyRally South Canterbury
Rally of CanterburyRally of Hawkes BayRally of Otago
Repco Rally New ZealandTarga BambinaTarga NZ
Targa South IslandTaupo 2wdWestland Rally Sprint
Fresh from securing his sixth Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship title and the FIA WRC2 category win at Repco Rally New Zealand earlier this month, Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon also wrapped up a second rally title over the weekend of 8 and 9 October in Europe.
Paddon, with young Christchurch co-driver Jared Hudson alongside, won the all-tarmac Rally Terra Sarda on the island of Sardinia, winning seven of the eleven special stages and placing second on the other four.
The rally victory was his third in the seven-round Tour European Rally (TER) series, earning him maximum points and the series title by six points from two-time Swiss rally champion Ivan Ballinari.
Having co-driven for Paddon on two of the three TER events, Hudson also earned maximum points in the co-drivers’ standings to be presented with the TER Co-Driver trophy.
Paddon says: “The TER series has been a lot of fun and exposed us to a lot more tarmac rallying which we don’t get in New Zealand. To win a European championship was certainly the goal and is quite a nice achievement for the year alongside everything else we have going on. Jared has been doing a great job, growing with every rally and certainly learning a lot while literally jumping in the deep end with some challenging rallies in Italy and Wales.”
More information about the TER series is available on the website https://terseries.com/en/
On the eve of the Repco Rally New Zealand’s return to the FIA World Rally Championships, organisers are keen to press claims for the event to have a regular place on the calendar in Auckland.
Rally chairman Peter Johnston confirmed today that Rally New Zealand will not be included on the 2023 world calendar although active discussions are underway with WRC Promoter and stakeholders regarding the world championship event returning to Auckland in 2024.
Johnston said that this week’s Repco Rally New Zealand will deliver a significant return on investment for local and central Governments and sponsors.
“The event will bring much need support to the accommodation sector. We believe visitation will be around 34,000 bed nights and potential economic benefit of many millions for Auckland,” said Johnston.
“The WRC television broadcast will be seen by more than 70 million viewers globally, including pictures of our beautiful landscapes and some great feature pieces with the drivers who have been seeing the best of Auckland this week.”
Johnston said his organisation are focused on Rally New Zealand taking a biennial place on the WRC calendar.
“We believe that the future is strong for this event in New Zealand. WRC has deep roots in New Zealand and the fan interest this week shows how special this event is for our country.
“This week is the first FIA World Championship motorsport event to be held in New Zealand featuring hybrid electric vehicles and fully sustainable fuel which represents a new age of motorsport.”
Johnston said that the global calendar for World Rally Championship is extremely competitive and that Rally New Zealand has looked to host the event for several years. He said that his organisation believes that this would not be practicable annually, but every two to three years.
“We are confident that after a successful event this week that our team will be in a strong position to be included on the 2024 WRC calendar.”
WRC Promoter Managing Director Jona Siebel said his organisation is delighted to return to New Zealand. “The whole WRC community has been very much looking forward to our return to New Zealand, given the event was first included on the 2020 season calendar,” said Siebel.
“Here we are two years later and the excitement remains. With the amount of work that PJ and his team have done, along with the great support of Tātaki Auckland Unlimited and the other sponsors and partners, we want to find a way to make sure this effort can be capitalised on with a strategy for a future return.
“This will require a clear commitment from central government as well as Auckland Unlimited, and we’re very much in the mix with these negotiations now.
“Rally New Zealand has a great heritage in the WRC, and as we’ve seen with the recent return of Safari Rally Kenya and Acropolis Rally Greece, it is a key ambition of WRC Promoter to maintain such events where possible.”
Chris Simpson, Head of Major Events at Tātaki Auckland Unlimited says: “The World Rally Championship is one of the pinnacle events on the global motorsport calendar and Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is proud to host the New Zealand leg of the event this year.
“We acknowledge that there is great demand for hosting events of this nature, which is reflective of how competitive the global events market is right now.
“It is fantastic to see the way WRC has embraced the need for motorsport to evolve to meet the challenges of being more environmentally responsible, which fits well with Auckland and New Zealand’s priority on responding to climate change and the need to reduce emissions globally.
“The Rally of New Zealand leg of the WRC is ground-breaking in terms of environmental developments, with the new generation of hybrid technology and sustainable fuels.
“We are hopeful that discussions involving the WRC, the Government and Tātaki Auckland Unlimited will continue in a positive way, and the event will return again in the years to come.”
Repco Rally New Zealand gets underway with the with the Opening Ceremony and Super Special Stage in Auckland Domain on Thursday from 5.30pm.
All cars and equipment have arrived in Auckland, and the service park in Silo Park and Wynyard Quarter opens to the public on Thursday. Before then teams are undertaking reconnaissance on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday, with shakedown on Thursday ahead of the official opening and Super Special Stage in Auckland Domain which is free to the public.
Day one proper of the rally is in Raglan and Te Akau regions, with day two in the Nor-West and Hibiscus Coast region ahead of the final day with a double stage at the unique Jack’s Ridge stage in Whitford.
On the back of significant ticket sales, organisers advise fans to purchase general admission tickets for the Jack’s Ridge stages, with park and ride with admission at $59.
Shakedown Run 2:
Hayden Paddon 1:35.3
Harry Bates 1:37.1
Shane van Gisbergen 1:38.6
Ben Hunt 1:39.7
Raana Horan 1:40.9
Run 1: Bertelli 1:42.3 Kajetanowicz 1:47.1 Todd Bawden 1:47.6
Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard are looking forward to next week’s Repco Rally New Zealand, the first time the FIA World Rally Championship event has been run in New Zealand for ten years.
The pair compete in their Hyundai i20 N Rally2 car under the Hyundai New Zealand Rally team banner in the Rally2 category against five international drivers and six other New Zealanders. The team purchased the Hyundai i20 N Rally2 this season and ran it in three European events while investing time and resources in its preparation and development which earned them a very pleasing third place at Rally Finland in August. Then the car was airfreighted down-under to contest Rally New Zealand.
Paddon’s goal is to win the WRC2 (or Rally2) category, where he’s expecting a good battle with fellow Kiwis V8 Supercars champ Shane van Gisbergen and Ben Hunt, as well as leading Australian rally driver Harry Bates. A Rally2 category win would make Paddon the top-placed New Zealander, an honour he’s earned four times previously at two non-WRC and two WRC editions of Rally New Zealand. Rally New Zealand also counts as two rounds of the New Zealand Rally Championship, which Paddon leads following three wins at the first three NZRC events of the season, so he’ll also be aiming to secure his sixth NZRC title.
Paddon is fresh from two recent wins, albeit in different Hyundais to the Rally2-spec i20 N which he’ll be driving next week. Earlier in September Paddon piloted the all-electric Hyundai Kona rally car to victory at the Ashley Forest Rallysprint, the second win in just two events for the EV and a significant milestone for the team who designed and developed 80 percent of the EV rally car in-house. He also won a Welsh rally, part of the Tour European Rally championship in a Hyundai i20 R5, his first ever win on tarmac.
The team has also been busy preparing the Rally2 car for three days of intense competition on some of the best rallying roads New Zealand has to offer. They’ve been able to run a small development test with the car and have a final test run this Sunday on a closed road near Tauranga before Paddon and Kennard spend two and a half day doing reconnaissance of the rally stages. On Thursday evening, the rally gets underway with the ceremonial start and a super special stage around the Pukekawa Auckland Domain.
The rally route involves 275 km of competition across 17 special stages from 29 September to 2 October. It takes competitors from the rally base on Auckland’s waterfront southwest to Whaanga Coast near Raglan, northwest to the Kaipara Hills and wraps up near Whitford on a purpose-built rally stage.
Paddon says: “It was good to get a good result on the board in Finland to conclude this year’s European tour and we made some big gains with the new Hyundai i20 N Rally2 car. We’re happy with where we’re at for Rally New Zealand but have more development to do to with the car to continue improving longer term.
“The events in Wales and Ashley Forest offered different conditions to what’s coming at Rally New Zealand, but seat time is seat time, and it all helps.
“Seeing the WRC back in New Zealand is something I’m very proud of for the New Zealand rally community. I’m grateful for the work done by a great team of people to make this happen. I’m excited to tackle these awesome rallying roads again in our Hyundai Rally2 car with our own homegrown team.
“With the Rally2 and R5 cars competing in the same category, there’s going to be some great competition. Between Ben, Shane and Harry, I’m expecting there to be close competition which I’m looking forward to.
“Rally fans are in for a real treat as Rally New Zealand once again features on the world stage. The hybrid Rally1 cars and drivers are going to be a sight to behold on some of the most spectacular stages in the world. The Auckland Domain stage, with free public access on Thursday night, will be an amazing way to start the event.
“Our goal is simple, to win WRC2. There have been a lot of questions about the overall result, but the gap is now too big between Rally1 and Rally2 cars for us to even consider competing with them, but we will give it everything we’ve got!” Hyundai New Zealand CEO Andy Sinclair says: “We couldn’t be more excited to watch Hayden and John compete on home soil and contest the Rally New Zealand WRC2 title on our terms with an i20 N Rally2 car and all-Kiwi team. We’re proud of all that we’ve achieved together since 2014 and will simply enjoy this historical moment for Hyundai New Zealand Rally.
“We encourage fans to show their support for Hayden out on the stages by grabbing a Hyundai New Zealand Rally flag from the Rally Village in Wynyard Quarter or any of our Auckland and Waikato dealerships.”
Paddon and Hyundai New Zealand Rally appreciate the support of Hyundai New Zealand, Mitre 10 Trade, Z Energy, Makita, Bailey Caravans, Ben Nevis Station, Winmax Brakes, Gravity Internet, Pak N’ Save, Bars Bugs, Pirelli, OMP/Racer Products, Mike Greer Homes, Bartercard, Accessman, Sign It Signs, Carters Tyre Service, ETCO, MITO and Provident Insurance.
Thanks to our friends at Winger Subaru we are proud to announce the Legends of Rally Gala Dinner and invite you to purchase your tickets now! Join us at Shed 10 on Wednesday 28th September when we welcome a host of international and local rallying legends to Auckland.
This is your chance to meet and greet some of the biggest names in rallying & motorsport.
Guests at this exclusive sit down dinner will be entertained by 8 time World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier along with a host of stars including our home grown champion Hayden Paddon.
Other legends include multiple FIA world champion Petter Solberg, the 2010 winner of Rally New Zealand Jari Matti Latvala along with Supercars hero turned rally challenger Shane Van Gisbergen.
Book now to be part of this exclusive and unique celebration of rallying.
Priced at $5,000+GST for a table of 10 or $500+GST for an individual ticket. Includes full dinner and drinks.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.rallynewzealand.com for more details.
Finnish find Kalle Rovanperä, chasing a place in sporting history, heads the entry list announced today for this month’s FIA Repco Rally New Zealand.
The 21-year-old Rovanperä, current leader in the FIA World Rally Championship, could potentially wrap up the title with co-driver Jonne Halttunen when the 11th round is staged in and around Auckland from 29 September to 2 October.
In doing so Rovanpera, who has seven WRC victories to his credit already in his fledgling career, would become the youngest champion in the sport’s history and celebrate his 22nd birthday weekend down-under in the best possible way.
He heads the international list of drivers and co-drivers from 13 nations to contest Repco Rally New Zealand, the 32nd time the championship has been staged in this country, and the first time in over a decade.
Rovanperä has turned heads since becoming the youngest driver to win a WRC event when he prevailed in Estonia at age 20 in 2021.
The name is well-known in rallying circles with the Toyota Gazoo Racing driver the son of long-time WRC driver Harri Rovanperä, who competed here 8 times, finishing on the podium twice in 2001 and 2002.
His teammate and eight-time world champion, Sebastien Ogier will no doubt be motivated to extend his remarkable record of 54 WRC victories, and remove New Zealand from the small list of rally venues where he has not stood on the top of the podium.
The powerful Toyota Gazoo Racing team also includes Welshman Elfyn Evans, who has five WRC wins and 23 podiums to his credit, and Japan’s former karting and Formula 3 standout, Takamoto Katsuta. He came through the Toyota development programme under the watchful eye of Tommi Makinen, himself a four-time world champion.
The Hyundai challenge is led by Ott Tänak, the 2019 world champion from Estonia, and the experienced Belgian driver Thierry Neuville, who has 15 WRC rally wins since his debut in 2009.
Their team is rounded out with Sweden’s exciting 20-year-old Oliver Solberg, the 2020 FIA European Junior Champion, who is the son of 2003 world champion and fan favourite, Petter Solberg who won Rally New Zealand in 2004.
The M-Sport Ford challenge is headed by Ireland’s Craig Breen, who has scored two podiums this year, and England’s Gus Greensmith, a promising youth footballer at Manchester City, and 2014 British Junior Rally Champion.
The Ford team also includes Adrien Fourmaux, a former junior French Rally Champion and Italy’s Lorenzo Bertelli, who has been a regular with M-Sport for the last seven years.
There will be considerable kiwi interest in the WRC2 category, led by 2011 Production WRC Champion and five-time New Zealand Rally Champion, Hayden Paddon. He has made a return to the WRC2 this year with the support from Hyundai New Zealand.
There will be plenty of support for current Supercars Championship leader, Shane van Gisbergen, who has put together a privateer campaign to realise a dream of competing in the rally that he watched many times as a youngster.
Two-time New Zealand Gold Star Champion Ben Hunt, who followed in his father’s footsteps into the sport over a decade ago, triple European Champion Poland’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Australian Rally Champion Harry Bates will all be in the latest Skoda Fabia machines.
There is much talk about the remarkable purpose-built Wolf Power Stage at Jack’s Ridge, the final stage of Repco Rally New Zealand which has special significance for another New Zealand competitor in the New Zealand Championship class in Jack Hawkeswood.
It is his father Andrew who has led the project to build both a 7km stage and the associated infrastructure on his land, with son Jack having spent countless hours in its construction.
“Rally fans have long awaited the return of the World Rally Championship to New Zealand, and we are thrilled with the quality of drivers venturing to our shores,” said Repco Rally New Zealand CEO, Michael Goldstein.
“The best of the best are coming, both rising superstars like Kalle Rovanperä, and the incomparable Sebastien Ogier in the WRC1 class.
“The WRC2 challenge will be intense and obviously will get a lot of local attention with the kiwis in the field, led by Hayden Paddon and Shane van Gisbergen.
“We have some epic and iconic stages that the likes of Sebastien Ogier have said are the best in the world. And we have the world’s best drivers doing battle in these remarkable hi-tech hybrid cars.
“We are excited that New Zealand sporting fans will have the opportunity to see these drivers and cars in action, while 80 million people from 150 countries will tune in around the globe to watch it all unfold amid our wonderful and unique New Zealand landscape.”
Overall there are 11 entrants in the WRC1 elite category, 12 in WRC2 including kiwi stars Hayden Paddon and Shane van Gisbergen, with six other kiwis also in the international field.
These crews are supported by 46 additional entries in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship field, so 75 cars will assemble at the Pukekawa Auckland Domain Start on the evening of Thursday September 29th.
Limited tickets are available now at www.rallynewzealand.com
Hayden Paddon and co-driver Jared Hudson have won this year’s Get Connected Rali Ceredigion and in doing so, the multiple times New Zealand Champion and WRC winner recorded his first ever all-asphalt victory, calling the event one of the best rallies of its kind in the world.
After taking the lead on Saturday's fourth and final stage, driving a Hyundai i20 N R5 Paddon consolidated his advantage over Sunday’s eight stages to cross the line 38.7 seconds ahead of 2019 Rali Ceredigion winner Osian Pryce and co-driver on this occasion Noel O’Sullivan in a VW Polo GTi R5. Driving a new Hyundai i20 N Rally 2, James Williams and Dai Roberts finished third, a further 1 minute 25.3 seconds back, whilst fourth place went to Ruairi Bell and Max Freeman in a Skoda Fabia Rally 2, who had been locked in battle all day with Gary Pearson and Dale Furniss who finished fifth in their Ford Fiesta WRC.
The first leg of the rally kicked off in Aberystwyth on Saturday evening with a brand-new street stage comprising two 0.56-mile runs through the town in front of 1000s of spectators. Competitors then headed inland for two considerably longer tests in the Ceredigion countryside which, tackled in the dark, were to prove decisive to the outcome of the rally when leaders after stage three Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin rolled their VW Polo GTi R5 not far from the start of SS4.
With the stage blocked, Paddon and Williams were held up and consequently, accredited with times that placed them in first and second places respectively, separated by just two seconds. By virtue of running at car number one, Pryce was the only driver of the leading group to have made it through the stage unhindered. But with a turbo boost issue hampering his progress, the allocation of notional times to his two main rivals helped his cause and he ended the day 2.2 seconds behind Williams in third.
Whilst all of the stages so far had run in the dry, overnight rain and indifferent forecasts meant that talk in the service area on Sunday morning was that of tyres. Paddon and Williams opted for wets, whilst Pryce took a braver approach and went out to start the first loop of four stages in the Cambrian Mountains on slicks.
End-of-stage reports from the drivers made it clear that in places, the surface was nothing short of treacherous - a fact confirmed by the number of incidents in the morning's stages, with recovery crews ensuring roads were cleared as quickly as possible. Notable retirements included 2019 third-place finisher Jason Pritchard on stage five this year in a VW Polo R5, fourth at the overnight halt Meirion Evans - also in a Polo R5 - and local hero Gwyndaf Evans, who rolled his Mk2 Escort at the end of stage seven. Thankfully, everyone emerged from their respective episodes unscathed.
Quickly acclimatising to the conditions and with his turbo issues behind him, Pryce went two seconds quicker than anyone else through SS5, the 17-mile JDS Machinery Llanfihangel stage and in doing so, overhauled Williams to take second place.
Although not comfortable with his tyre choice, Paddon steadily increased the gap between him and Pryce during the morning. After swapping his tyres for slicks at the lunchtime service halt, the New Zealander further extended his advantage over the afternoon’s second loop of four stages, going on to win by a margin of 38.7 seconds.
With Paddon not registered for the British Rally Championship and his main rival for the title Cronin out of the running, Pryce took a relatively cautious approach in order to score maximum BRC points, rather than risk it all by fighting for his second Get Connected Rali Ceredigion victory.
Still getting used to his new car, Williams put himself in a position to take advantage if either of the two ahead faltered, but the opportunity never presented itself and whilst he would have liked to have challenged for the lead, he was happy to take third in an event he holds in high regard. Behind the leading trio, the battle for fourth place continued throughout the day, with Bell finally getting the better of Pearson by 7.7 seconds.
Elevated to international status this year, the event hosted rounds of five major championships: Motorsport UK British Rally Championship, Protyre Asphalt Rally Championship, TER (Tour European Rally) series, FIA Celtic Rally Trophy and FIA European Rally Trophy. Top finisher in the BRC was Pryce, Williams was the first of the Asphalt Championship runners and in TER, Celtic and European Trophies, it was Paddon who claimed the highest haul of points.
Running further down the field and breaking new ground for British rallying was runner-up in this event in 2019, Tom Cave. Invited to compete in a Corsa-e prepared and managed by Myerscough College & University Centre as part of the rally’s sustainability initiative, Cave became the first driver to win a class for fully electric vehicles on a multi-venue stage rally in the UK.
Sustainability has been a key theme and focus of this year’s event, with organisers introducing a range of ground-breaking initiatives to minimise the rally’s environmental impact. The rally is the first in the UK to more than offset the emissions associated with the entire competitive field in a move that will achieve a positive carbon outcome. And, in recognition of its work in this area, Get Connected Rali Ceredigion has become the first event of its kind in Britain to achieve FIA Environmental Accreditation.
At the finish on Aberystwyth Promenade bathed in glorious sunshine, augmented by the backdrop of the Cambrian Mountains on one side and Cardigan Bay on the other, the winning crews were presented with their trophies and interviewed in front of the fans:
Winner: Hayden Paddon
“I’ve really loved this event. I can honestly say that it’s one of the best rallies of its kind anywhere in the world. The stages are awesome and the atmosphere has been great, especially for the two runs through the town on Saturday night.
“At just 18 years of age, I’ve been very impressed with Jared. This is a tough rally for a co-driver and he’s done really well. This is actually my first ever outright asphalt rally win, so I’ll just have to keep coming back to do it again!”
2nd: Osian Pryce
“I’m chuffed to bits. We came here to do a job towards our British Championship campaign and that’s exactly what we’ve done. It would have been good to go all out for the win and retain my Rali Ceredigion title, but if I’m going to lose it to anyone then I’m happy it’s Hayden. It’s been great to compete alongside him this weekend.
“The organiers have really stepped-up the event this year. They’ve done a great job all round. Long may it continue and I’m sure that in the future this event will become one of those legendary must-do rallies on the calendar.”
Eight-time World Champion, Sébastien Ogier has confirmed he will line-up in this month’s Repco Rally New Zealand.
The reigning World Champion from France, racing on a part-time basis for his Toyota Gazoo Racing team in the FIA World Rally Championship this year, is keen to return to one of his favourite rallies on the world calendar.
The 11th round of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship returns to New Zealand for the 32nd time and first occasion in 10 years, staged in and around Auckland from 29 September to 2 October.
Ogier will make his fourth start of this season, and after 54 WRC victories in 19 different rallies around the world, he returns to one of just a handful of venues where he has not tasted victory.
“Rally New Zealand was on the top of the list of rallies that I wanted to do this year,” said Ogier.
“I have only done this rally once before. The rally itself is really beautiful. Your roads are some of the best in the world for rallying. And I fell in love with the diverse and beautiful nature of the country.”
Ogier was involved in one of the most storied finishes in Rally New Zealand history in 2010 when he was within grasp of his first WRC victory. The Frenchman led by over six seconds going into the final stage on the iconic Whaanga Coast stage near Raglan, when he spun three corners from the finish, gifting the win to Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala, now his team boss at Toyota-Gazoo Racing.
Despite competing less often this year, Ogier has lost none of his desire for success in New Zealand and remembers his 2010 experience vividly.
“It was tough to take back in 2010 because I was chasing my first win. It is always a very important step in your career. I was lucky that three weeks later I had my first win at Rally Portugal so I did not have to wait too long.
“There is still some unfinished business in New Zealand and another reason to come back. Even if I am not competing fulltime, I expect to be competitive and hopefully enjoy more victories in the future.”
The key for Ogier is the unique gravel roads in this country.
“The rally roads in New Zealand are magic to drive. In Europe we do not have this camber on the roads where you are dancing along the road and it has a nice flow to drive. That is so attractive to a rally driver.”
Rally New Zealand Chairman, Peter Johnston said the organisation is honoured to host Ogier at the event.
“We are thrilled that Sébastien has chosen to come back to race in New Zealand,” said Johnston.
“We boast about our roads, our scenery and our people but it is a real credit to hear it from one of the absolute legends of the sport as the reason he is coming back.
“We thank the many New Zealanders who live on and regularly travel the rally route. They can share in the success of this event, especially with the knowledge that the world’s best, like Sébastien Ogier, hold these roads in such high regard.
“What’s more, there will be a global audience of around 80 million people in 150 countries watching the action on these spectacular roads and showing off our beautiful country.”
All information on the rally, including itinerary, rally routes and timings and tickets can be found on www.rallynewzealand.com.
Hayden Paddon has confirmed he will compete in November’s Coffs Coast Rally.
With the event hosting both the finale of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC), Paddon will be in a Hyundai alongside regular co-driver John Kennard for the title fight.
It’s been a busy year for Paddon so far after an impressive stint in Europe in both the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and the FIA European Rally Championship, as well as claiming three wins from three rounds in the 2022 New Zealand Rally Championship.
His success in the NZ Rally Championship has seen him qualify for November’s APRC finale on the Coffs Coast, where he is likely to lead a five-crew Kiwi charge.
While there is still plenty of time between now and November, Paddon has a jam-packed schedule on the cards, which includes his current trip to the UK for the Get Connected Rali Ceredigion and next month’s Rally New Zealand where he will be up against Australia’s own Harry Bates.
With Bates part of what will be a strong line up of crews entered in the APRC, Paddon was excited for the challenge.
“It’s been a very busy program in 2022 as we’ve got a few projects on the go, but I guess we’ve got this nice luxury of having three cars at our disposal, so it’s all hands-on deck,” Paddon said.
“It can be quite challenging particularly when navigating our way through different championships in different countries, however we just have to find a way and as long as we are there at the start line of the events, that’s all that matters.
“As for the APRC, there is a lot up for grabs being a one round shootout for the title. Even though it’s one event, at the end of the day, it still has the same title and the same trophy, which has a lot of history behind it, and I would love to have the opportunity to win this championship.
“Because of that, it puts a lot of pressure on the one rally. These events are not just about being as fast as the local competition, you’ve got to make it to the finish in a situation where you only get one shot.
“With that said, I’m looking forward to the rally, especially going up against the likes of Harry. We have been up against Harry before and he will be very fierce throughout, so I expect it to be a good fight.
“So, in that instance, we’re excited because we enjoy close competition. Not only is it good from a spectator’s point of view, but also from our point of view. It pushes you on and makes it quite exciting.”
Although it’s been quite some time since Paddon has been to the Coffs Coast, the New Zealander has plenty of previous experience to work off – having contested seven Rally Australia events in the New South Wales town between 2011 and 2018.
During that time, Paddon finished in the outright WRC top 10 on all but one occasion and picked up WRC podiums in both 2017 and 2018 – marking a successful era on the Coffs Coast for the Kiwi.
Ahead of his return to the picturesque coastal region, Paddon was looking forward to an event close to his heart.
“I’ve always enjoyed the Coffs Coast roads – it’s always been one of my favourite rounds of the WRC,” Paddon explained.
“From a competitor’s point of view, it has quite a nice and relaxed vibe for a rally, the local community get behind the rally and support us, so it was always one that we enjoyed.
“I particularly love the public road stages we used to do in the Nambucca region, but I believe they won’t be in this year’s rally. In saying that, there are still plenty of the forestry stages, which are similar in character.
“Obviously there will be some slight differences but we’ve got a pretty good idea on what to expect and we know the weather plays a big part. If it’s dry, they’re quite nice conditions but if is raining, like I did on the previous two Sundays we were there, it turns it into an absolute mud bath.
“With this year being in late November instead of September like when we used to do it, I’m expecting it to be a warm rally, which means there will put a lot more pressure and stress on the cars, components, cooling system and tyre wear.
“It does change the dynamics of the rally a little bit but, nothing we can’t handle. It does mean that we must consider it with our planning.
“All in all, the whole team is looking forward to it and we’re enjoying being able to do some international rallies again. It’s nice to spread our wings a little bit again and experience some different rallies.”
The Coffs Coast Rally takes place on the Coffs Coast on 25-27 November 2022.
|APRC Qualifying Series|
|NZ Rally Championship|
|10||Shane van Gisbergen||52|
|Mainland Rally Series|
|3||Marcus Van Klink||66|
|AASA Tarmac Championship|
|Targa NZ Seria Campione|