Five competitors in the Vantage New Zealand Rally Championship are vying for two scholarship entries offered to contest the 2008 Repco Rally New Zealand.
The two wild-card entries are for New Zealand’s round of the Production World Rally Championship (P-WRC) category – using the same class of car used in New Zealand championship rallying.
A stepping-stone to the highest level of world competition, the fiercely fought production category allows the Kiwi entrants to measure their ability against highly experienced teams.  The P-WRC field are also advantaged by their higher placed road position – where the two Kiwi scholarship teams will be included.
Of the five entered in the scholarship field, two former recipients of the scholarship and are current championship leaders at the half-way mark of the 2008 season.  Led by Geraldine’s Hayden Paddon (21), he is 23 points ahead in the Vantage Aluminium Joinery New Zealand Rally Championship of Christchurch’s Chris West (33).
Hastings Stewart Taylor (33), Cambridge driver Andre Meier (18) and the youngest competitor in the championship, Rotorua’s Sloan Cox, round out the field.
To be held late August (28 – 31), the Repco Rally New Zealand is the eleventh round of the World Rally Championship and will be the fourth in the 2008 Vantage New Zealand Rally Championship.  Only two of the three days count toward the New Zealand championship title.
The two finalists will be selected by the board of Rally New Zealand and announced at its media day, Sunday 29th June at Hamilton’s Mystery Creek Events Centre.
Brief on this year’s applicants for the Rally New Zealand scholarship:

  • Chris West, age 33, lives in Christchurch and was the 2004 New Zealand rally champion. West won the Rally New Zealand scholarship in 2006 and has returned to top-level local competition this year with the Andrew Simms Mitsubishi Rally Team;
  • Stewart Taylor, age 33, lives in Havelock North and has been a top-runner in the New Zealand Rally Championship for the past two years in a Mitsubishi;
  • Hayden Paddon, age 21, is from Geraldine and attracted significant interest when he won the Hella International Rally of Whangarei outright in 2007; this event is part of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship. In June this year Paddon was second outright in Whangarei, finishing just behind West and ahead of defending Asia Pacific rally champion Cody Crocker;
  • Andre Meier, age 18, is from Cambridge. A rookie in the New Zealand Rally Championship, Meier is gathering experience with every outing in his ex-Richard Mason Subaru.
  • Sloan Cox, age 16, is from Rotorua and competes with older sister Tarryn as his co-driver. Tackling his first full season in the New Zealand Rally Championship, Cox has exhibited a high standard of professionalism both on and off the rally stages and is the youngest competitor in the series. 


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