Hayden Paddon is aiming for the top step of the Production World Rally Championship podium when Rally New Zealand wraps up on Sunday, 9 May.

The New Zealand round of the World Rally Championship, running 6 to 9 May, is Paddon's first PWRC event of 2010, the year in which the just-turned 23-year-old aims to make his mark internationally and take another step towards a professional WRC career and his ultimate goal of winning a world title.

"It's important for us to get the maximum PWRC points during Rally New Zealand," says the Geraldine-based double New Zealand rally champion who returned from Rally Turkey just a few days ago after contesting his first event as a Pirelli Star Driver.

"Being our home event, it's our best chance to do really well. We're aiming for an error-free rally. On a three-day event like this, it's about minimising mistakes and being consistent to help put together a good result. A lot of the roads this year are new which is good for us, especially as some of the roads are faster."

Paddon has contested Rally New Zealand only twice before, in 2007 and in 2008 when he earned the honour of being the first New Zealander home in 13th place overall. Those two years of experience on a three-day WRC event on New Zealand roads stand Paddon in good stead for a strong result in this year's PWRC class, which features talented drivers such as former PWRC champion Toshi Arai from Japan and the top New Zealand Rally Championship field.

"The car's good," says Paddon of the championship-winning Team Green Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX that his team has put hundreds of hours into rebuilding for this event. "We've had a couple of good test sessions and the car's faster than last year but the proof is always once we get into the stages and can compare ourselves against the others. We have to look at the event as a whole, not just 1 or 2 stages, as it is a long rally and the points are only awarded at the finish line."

One of the key considerations for the Team Green, as it is for other competitors, is the limited opportunity for servicing the car during each day's action as the daily format from previous events has been changed.

"The lunchtime remote services in Whangarei, Hampton Down and Raglan on each of the three days mean that we can use only parts that we carry in the car during the morning stages. Not only are you trying to drive quickly, but you must look after the car as much as you can to get back to the service park at the end of each day."

Paddon departs the team Geraldine workshop late this week, bound for Auckland where they set up at the main service park on Queens Wharf in downtown Auckland on Saturday, 1 May.

Paddon has been invited to participate in a number of pre-event promotional activities with other competitors in the build-up to the rally which starts officially on Thursday, 6 May.

"It is going to be a busy week which I am really looking forward to and it will be great to see our Team Green supporters out there! We have had a lot of support from our team, partners and supporters so I hope to give them all something to cheer about, especially considering we only have a couple of chances to compete on home turf this year."

Paddon extends his thanks to sponsors EDL Fasteners, Castrol, Pirelli, RallyTours, Endless Brakes, Paddon, Radio Sport, Radio Hauraki, Contiki Tours, All About Signs, MCA Suspension, Vicarage Lane Wines, Northend Ford, In-Tune Automotive, Total Automotive, Steelplus, Resene, FMG, Reaction Racing, Pope Print and Bluebridge Ferries.

The team's website, www.hayden-paddon.com, has full details of the team's 2010 programme and offers the opportunity to sign up for Hayden's regular, informative newsletters.

To join Team Green's media mailing list, or to sign up to receive Hayden's personal updates from each rally, please see www.hayden-paddon.com.


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