Hyundai’s WRC driver, Hayden Paddon, won every stage at New Zealand’s Rally of Whangarei, winning the event with a seven minute lead over Ben Hunt’s Subaru.
Run in the north end of the country’s North Island as the most important rally in New Zealand, the event was the opening round of the FIA Asia Pacific championship series, in which Japanese Skoda driver, Yuya Sumiyama, overtook Italian Fabio Frisiero on the second day.
Hayden Paddon was a clear winner of the Rally of Whangarei. Photo: Geoff Ridder
Special locally homologated cars were widely present with Paddon’s car being designed in the spirit of the regional AP4 rules, albeit with a special turbo 1.8 litre engine.
APRC favourite had been the special four wheel drive Toyota Vitz of Mike Young, fitted with a turbocharged 2-litre engine.
Six of the top nine finishers were cars not authorised outside the region. Only five competitors were entered for the APRC category.
Italian Fabio Frisiero was second APRC finisher in his AP4 Peugeot. Photo: APRC
The Japanese Cusco team not only ran Young’s Vitz, but also the Fabia of Sumiyama used as a benchmark for assessing their development of the Vitz.
The Vitz disappeared early after Young impacted a bank, which damaged the radiator and then the engine.
Frisiero’s Peugeot 208 AP4 headed the APRC at the end of the first day, but Sumiyama went quicker on the fast roads on Day 2. Fuyuhiko Takahashi’s Subaru retired after leaving the road, while a fifth competitor failed to start.
The next APRC rally is the Australian round based in Canberra in June.
Mike Young was the favourite, but spun and damaged his Toyota Vitz's engine. Photo: APRC
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