Paddon confirmed for rally

Hayden Paddon
Hayden Paddon
The Catlins Coast Rally reaches a major milestone this year, when the 20th edition of the event is set to take place on the roads of the area on August 8.

Already 70 entries have been received for the rally, including some of the biggest names of New Zealand rallying.

When you talk big names in New Zealand there is none bigger than Hayden Paddon, the only Kiwi to win a World Rally Championship event, the 2016 Rally Of Argentina.

The Cromwell-based driver will be present in his Hyundai i20 AP4 as he uses the rally as a test session to prepare for future events.

Among the entries gunning for victory is reigning New Zealand Rally champion Ben Hunt, now based in Auckland.

Hunt, who also won the national title in 2015, will be at the wheel of one of the very popular Subaru H6 cars, a six-cylinder two-wheel-drive vehicle.

Kingsley Jones, of Papakura, fourth in last year’s NZ Rally Championship, will make his first appearance at Catlins in a Mk2 Ford Escort 2WD car, hired from Jeff Judd, while former top Kiwi driver Marty Roestenburg, of Auckland makes an appearance in his Toyota Starlet.

Garet Thomas of Darfield, last year’s winner in a dramatic finish, returns this year while four-time victor Andrew Graves, of Gore, who will make his 20th appearance in the event, will be back in his Mitsubishi EVO 3.

Graves had a lead of more than 3min last year when he lost a wheel and went off the road on the penultimate stage.

Last year’s third placegetter and three-time winner, Dean Bond, of Balclutha, returns as does last year’s Rankleburn Rally winner, Carter Strang, of Wallacetown.

The rally will start at 10am on August 8, next to Owaka Motors, and will feature about 153km of high-speed special stages at Puaho, Catlins Valley, McNab’s Farm, Tawanui, Cannibal Bay and Romahapa.

The event will finish at Owaka at 3.40 that afternoon.

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