Paddon takes SWRC win and first Kiwi honour at Rally New Zealand
- 26th June 2012, 9:44am
New Zealand rally stars Hayden Paddon and John Kennard have secured victory in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship class of Brother Rally New Zealand.
Even though they were contending with further mechanical issues today, 24 June, the popular pair was also the first New Zealand crew home, an honour they’ve also secured at the past two New Zealand WRC events.
Despite a winning margin of over 33 minutes to second-placed SWRC finisher P-G Andersson, Paddon admitted to having hoped to achieve more at his home event.
“We were out to show our pace on roads we know well so it was particularly frustrating for the rear suspension to break in the first stage this morning just when we were about to try and chase down Manfred Stohl in a WRC Ford who started the day just in front of us in eleventh place overall,” says the 25-year-old production world rally champion.
“Today was frustrating. Although we bought it home and scored maximum points, not only did we have the suspension issue, I made a silly mistake in stage 20, hitting a bank, spinning and puncturing a tyre. So we lost time there.
“Yes, overall the result was good and I’m very pleased for everyone who’s worked so hard that we are now leading the championship, but I was hoping for more.
“I feel the best is yet to come with John and me in the Skoda. The car’s not bad at all, but it’s a fine balance to get the setup right. We’ll do more testing and put in a lot more hard work. We’re aiming to go hard in Finland in July. Finland is a very special rally and it’s crucial to have absolute confidence in the car.”
The final day of Brother Rally New Zealand took competitors to Puhoi and Kaukapakapa north of Auckland for some high speed stages as well as two quick blasts around the narrow tarmac roads around the magnificent Auckland War Memorial Museum and Auckland Domain.
When not hampered by suspension issues or a puncture, Paddon put in some solid stage times on Sunday’s final seven stages with two 12th-fastest and one top ten time, putting him among the WRC competitors.
“We were humbled by the sheer number of fans cheering for us. From that perspective, it’s been an amazing event,” added Paddon who heads home to Geraldine briefly before returning to Spain to work with his team, ASM Motorsport, with the car’s preparation for Finland.
“My sincere thanks to ENZED for their support for Brother Rally New Zealand and thanks also to our many fantastic supporters including PlaceMakers, Giltrap Group, Skoda, Z Energy, Cameron Sea and Airfreight, Granger Design, Raiseys, New Balance, Pope Print, Racetech, Chicane Racewear, Endless Brake Pads, 1 Group web design, Brita Safety, Rally Tours, MAK-Corp, EPS International, Saddle Hill Quarries, Monit Rally Computers, Bluebridge Ferries, Stadium Finance, and Ewing Engineering Contractors.”
Paddon’s next event is Rally Finland which runs 3 to 5 July.
Photo: Peter Whitten
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