Paddon win secures first title for Hyundai

Hayden Paddon
Hayden Paddon
Hayden Paddon has won the final round of the 2018 New Zealand Rally Championship in Raglan in his Hyundai i20 AP4+ car, giving Hyundai New Zealand their first-ever NZRC manufacturers’ championship title.

Paddon made the win look easy with a margin of nearly five-and-a-half minutes over second-placed Ben Hunt, having set the fastest stage times on all eight special stages of the one-day Hyundai NZ Raglan Rally of the Coast. However, Paddon, with Malcolm Read alongside as co-driver, had to manage a few driveline niggles to bring the car home safely in first place.

"It was a bit tense today with a driveline problem we were trying to keep on top of," said Paddon, who wrapped up his fourth NZRC drivers’ title at the previous round in Coromandel, his first title in the Hyundai. 

"We had to take it relatively easy, and kept our fingers and toes crossed to the end of the last stage which made it exciting.

"Our team did a really great job to keep the car going, and we made little repairs as we went along ... more stages and we might have been in trouble. Once again, a big team effort is what got the car over the line."

Paddon was delighted to have secured the manufacturers’ title for Hyundai New Zealand.

"It’s a big part of what we wanted to achieve this season."

He said the 171.80 km of special stages were in excellent condition.

"The stages ... had a bit of wet to them and were really, really nice; some of the best condition[s] I’ve ever seen them and really enjoyable to drive."

The 25 points Paddon secured for Hyundai in the manufacturers’ championship meant they finished with 125 points, just two points ahead of Subaru, which had a one-point lead going into this final round. Paddon’s last event of 2018 is the November 15-18 running of WRC Rally Australia.

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