Paddon too good on home patch

Hayden Paddon
Hayden Paddon
Hayden Paddon revelled in rallying on the gravel back roads he grew up on, winning all 12 stages and finishing six minutes, 54.4secs ahead of the second driver in Saturday's South Canterbury Rally.

The former WRC driver cut his rallying teeth in his hometown of Geraldine, and credited his Paddon Rallysport crew after he and co-driver Samantha Gray had a faultless performance in the Hyundai i20 AP4 at the 200km event.

"It was a great day. We really enjoyed it. The stages were in amazing condition and the car was great, thanks to the team's preparation," Paddon said.

Now based in Cromwell, Paddon was entered in the all-comers category, having opted not to contest the New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) this year, leaving the runner-up, Auckland-based Ben Hunt, to take maximum NZRC points. The Subaru WRX STI driver now has a 46-point NZRC lead over Josh Marston of Christchurch, who placed third in the event (Holden Barina AP4).

Queenstown's Mike Sheehan had a tough weekend, with the gear stick level in his Ford Fiesta R2 snapping in half in stage four, dropping him down the pack.

"We lost about 15 minutes stranded in the stage until we worked out a way to drive it by pushing and pulling a selector bar which runs through under the dash into the engine bay," Sheehan said.

It allowed his FIA Group N 2WD class rivals - siblings Robbie and Amy Stokes - back into the title fight with two rounds remaining.

There was no positive change in Dunedin driver Emma Gilmour's fortunes, with mechanical issues in her Suzuki Swift AP4 knocking her out on the opening stage.

The NZRC's penultimate round will be held in the Coromandel in August before wrapping up in Waitomo in October.

Paddon will not be contesting any further NZRC rounds, and heads to Europe this week to make his debut in the Global Rallycross Europe series which kicks off next weekend in Essay, France.

He will contest six rallycross events between June and October.


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