Paddon claims all 18 stages

Hayden Paddon
Hayden Paddon
Hayden Paddon made the most of every kilometre of the International Rally of Whangarei as he prepares for his return to international competition at Rally Portugal in two weeks.

With stand-in co-driver Malcolm Peden alongside, Paddon won all 18 special stages of the two-day gravel rally in his New Zealand-built Hyundai i20 AP4+ car.

His winning margin of 7min 26.3sec over second-placed Ben Hunt highlighted the Kiwi rally star’s dominance of one of his favourite domestic rallies and was the largest winning margin at this event.

His stage times on the repeated loops were always faster — often significantly so — on the second run regardless of weather and road conditions, which included fog, bright sun and dust on Saturday, and a little rain and mud yesterday.

"It was a good weekend; everything went really well," Paddon said.

"We worked on a few things like some changes with pace notes which worked well, and learnt a couple things with tyre management and different driving strategies between the first and second pass — good things that will translate to overseas competition.

"Everything felt really good, natural, in the car, so it’s the perfect confidence booster for heading back over."

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