Kiwi rally stars Hayden Paddon and John Kennard were delighted to secure first place in the Tour European Rally (TER) Championship category at Rally di Alba in Italy’s Piedmont region on 24 and 25 June. Driving a Hyundai i20 R5 car run by Hyundai Motorsport Italy (HMI), the pair were fourth overall, just 20 seconds behind the winner after nine special stages of tarmac competition.
With five years since Paddon last contested a tarmac rally, his expectations were modest. As the rally progressed, he was happy to get into the groove of tarmac competition once again to secure a solid result. With several top three times to their credit, the Kiwis were pleased to finish ahead of a French national and WRC2 champion and a 11-time Italian rally champion.
Now they have joined up with other members of the Hyundai New Zealand Rally team in Latvia where they took delivery of their brand-new Hyundai i20 N Rally2 car on Wednesday, ahead of competing in Rally Liepaja this weekend. The tight timeline means that they are looking at this rally, the Latvian round of the European Rally Championship running 1-3 July, as a test rally. They’ll try various setups and gather data about the car over the 12 special stages, as Paddon and Kennard get familiar with the freshly-built Rally2 car in preparation for their first scheduled WRC2 event in Estonia two weeks later.
“It’s great to get our European tour off to a good start with fourth place, out of 250 cars, at Rally di Alba and first place in the TER category in the Hyundai i20 R5.
“With five years since our last tarmac rally, our expectations were quite low. The car and the road surface felt very foreign on our test day which was the same day I hopped off the plane from New Zealand. With the level of competition here in Italy we thought a top ten result would be good. However, as the rally progressed, we got more and more into a groove, setting several top three times. At the end, we were only 20 seconds from the lead and were pleased to finish ahead of a French national and WRC2 champion and a 11-time Italian rally champion. Overall, it was a very enjoyable weekend and big thanks to the HMI team who ran us.
“We’re excited to take delivery of the Hyundai i20 N Rally2 car in Latvia. It was a big push by Hyundai Motorsport to get the car built in time for us, so the first opportunity for me and John to sit in it will be at shakedown for Rally Liepaja on Friday 1 July.
“We’re treating this weekend’s event in Latvia as a test rally, trying many different setups and gathering as much data as we can over the 12 special stages. We’ll still give it our best shot, but there’s a lot to learn about the car which we’d normally do on a pre-event test. It can’t be helped that there’s no time for a pre-event test in this case, and the car’s signwriting in its iconic black and white Kiwi livery will also have to wait until after this weekend’s rally. We are very much looking forward to driving the Hyundai i20 N Rally2 car and finding out more about this awesome rally car.”
Hyundai New Zealand CEO Andy Sinclair is thrilled yet unsurprised that Paddon’s European campaign has provided positive results already.
“Hayden and John are a world-class pair,” Andy says. “Despite not competing overseas over the last few years, they and the team have been busy preparing themselves for this inevitable return. We now look forward to seeing how the team performs with our new Hyundai i20 N Rally2 car.”
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 and Provident Insurance.
For more info on the Latvia event: https://www.fiaerc.com/erc/championship/calendar/erc/erc-rally-liepaja/overview/ https://2022.lvrally.com/eng/tet-rally-liepaja/rally-programme
Keep up with news on Hayden Paddon and the Hyundai New Zealand Rally team via the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/paddonrallysport.
Ford New Zealand today announced it has signed on as an Elite Sponsor of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) round to be held in New Zealand from 29 September to 2 October.
“New Zealanders – including all of us here at Ford – love all things Rally, so we’re really excited to be supporting the New Zealand event,” said Cameron Thomas, Marketing Director, Ford New Zealand.
“It’s especially great to have it back after such a long hiatus. We’ve got big plans for the event and getting Ford fans, our customers and our dealer teams involved. There will be plenty of fan support for the Ford teams.”
New Zealand’s own Robbie and Amy Stokes will be competing in Repco Rally New Zealand, sponsored by Team Hutchinson Ford and Ford New Zealand.
The Stokes family have a long history of rally competitions, Robbie attending his first rally at three months old. He also saw his father compete in a Ford Escort Cosworth.
Robbie is now racing himself alongside his sister Amy in their Ford Fiesta AP4.
“It’s certainly a Stokes family tradition now and a dream come true to be competing in the WRC event in New Zealand,” said Robbie Stokes.
“It’s always good to race on home turf and especially with the international field.”
Ford New Zealand is planning a special event site during the Jack’s Ridge special stage on Sunday 2 October with a hosting area for Ford supporters and dealer teams.
The site will feature one of the best viewing areas on the stage along with a special Next-Generation Ford Ranger drive activity.
“With both our local team and the M-Sport Ford Pumas to cheer on, it’s going to be a fantastic event,” added Cameron Thomas.
Rally driver Ari Pettigrew and navigator Jason Farmer have reached up to 3rd in the 2022 NZ Rally Championship (NZRC), following round three at Stadium Finance Rally of South Canterbury. Another great result was achieved with fourth outright by Ari and his team, halfway through the 2022 Brian Green Properties NZRC, this in Ari’s first season in the outright 4WD championship.
The South Canterbury event is known as having the highest speed average for the NZRC season, but that did not worry Ari, Jason or the Manukau Auto Centre owned Barina AP4. Despite his lack of experience in the full class cars, Ari put up a suite of fast times over the 9 special stages. Twice they took 2nd fastest behind Hayden Paddon and took two 3rd places also. After stage 6 and with 3 stages remaining, he was in 4th overall and less than 15 seconds behind third held by Matt Summerfield.
In stage 7 Ari halved the gap to Summerfield. With 22km’s in stage 8 before a short run around Levels racetrack for stage nine – it was stage 8 that needed to make it happen. A full speed attack was made but halfway through the car faltered, 10km’s from the end of stage 8.
The power steering failed, and the boys had to slow right down. Rallying requires split second changes of steering and it is simply not possible to go fast when failed steering is taking all your strength to move the wheel. But 4th at the event was still enough to move Ari up to third equal in the championship points.
Ari comments “We are getting more confidence in the Manukau Auto Centre owned Barina AP4 and are stepping up our pace at each event. By the later stages in South Canterbury we were having a close battle with Ben Hunt and Matt Summerfield and were hopeful of taking third from Matt in stage 8. Unfortunately, power steering failure slowed us for the last 10km’s. Luckily, we managed to do some roadside repairs in time for the quick run around Levels racetrack. We do a huge amount of preparation before each rally and the Manukau Auto Centre AP4 has run perfectly all season until then – which is pleasing giving how hard we all treat our cars in the stages”
“We have to be pleased with placing fourth in our third event, in the Manukau Auto Centre AP4 Barina. Hayden Paddon spent some time with me before South Canterbury Rally, giving me some tips to improve my driving along with helping to develop the car– and that certainly helped my speed. A big thanks to my boss Hayden. The Paddon Rally Group also helps me prepare the AP4 car and servicing at events and I can't thank them enough for all the support.”
Next event is Hawkes Bay Rally on 23rd July. Hayden Paddon is not competing at Hawkes Bay as Hayden is going rallying overseas for five events including WRC Rally of Finland. Paddon’s overseas rallies are in preparation for Rally NZ later this year and to work towards his Rally 2 World Championship attempt in 2023. That leaves an exciting chance for all the rest of NZRC competitors at Hawkes Bay to take a win in the absence of Paddon.
There will be a large group of teams hoping to take the win at Hawkes Bay Rally. Second in the NZRC points is Ben Hunt in his late model Skoda Motorsport R5 car. Hunt must have the shortest odds at Hawkes Bay Rally, but Canterbury’s Robbie Stokes is fast and due for some luck and Rangiora’s Matt Summerfield will also be planning to win that event. Rana Horan will also have his near new Skoda Motorsport R5 and currently equals Ari in 3rd NZRC points so far. Horan will also be looking for another NZRC round win. There will be more than 10 hopeful drivers with a chance of take the win, and that includes Ari Pettigrew and Jason Farmer who are getting quicker at every event.
After Hawkes Bay Rally it will be Repco Rally NZ in late September and there will be tens of thousands of people in the stages watching Ari and Jason rally past, along with the World Rally Drivers, Hayden Paddon and the rest of the NZRC teams.
Ari and Jason give a big thanks to Manukau Auto Centre - Paddon Rallysport - Mitre 10 Trade - Winmax Brake Pads - The Flooring Warehouse - R&R Hiab Services - KeelowCraft Boats - Dunlop Tyres – Penrite Oil NZ - Guyton Reinforcing - Gilt Edge - Glasurit Ultra Paints – Universal Sign Co - Prolook - Turboshop