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Trans-Tasman championship a ‘no brainer’ says Paddon

Richie Dalton Otago Rally
Richie Dalton has been an NZRC regular during 2018. Photo: Peter Whitten

The possibility of a Trans-Tasman rally championship between Australia and New Zealand is a “no brainer” according to Hyundai WRC star, Hayden Paddon.

In a report in the New Zealand Herald this week, Paddon said that the success of the New Zealand Rally Championship warranted serious talks about combining the titles on both sides of the ditch.

“It is something I have talked about over the last few years,” Paddon told The Herald. “I think it is a bit of a no-brainer.

“There is obviously the commercial aspect of it that needs to work to allow it to be financially possible for the competitors in terms of some logistical support and perhaps teams working together to make it possible.

“I think you could have a good championship where you had say three rounds in a row in New Zealand, then ship the cars over to Australia for three rounds there – okay, probably all on the East Coast.

Hayden Paddon believes a Trans-Tasman championship could work well. Photo: Geoff Ridder

“If you merged the New Zealand and Australian championships you have more manufacturers, you have lots of good drivers and lots of teams and you bring in that trans-Tasman rivalry and I think it is a no-brainer.

“If all the dots could be aligned it is something we would like to be heavily involved in.”

The NZRC is enjoying almost unprecedented success this year, with a host of R5 and AP4 cars, and a high quality field of drivers.

The most recent rally at Coromandel saw 10 different makes of car in the top 10 seeded entries, and Australians Nathan Quinn, Richie Dalton and Brendan Reeves have been regular visitors this season.

Whether the Trans-Tasman series becomes any more than talk, however, remains to be seen.

Many building blocks would need to be put into place for the series to eventuate, not the least of which would be an attractive freight option to get cars and service vehicles from one country to the other.

Despite the difficulties in getting the series off the ground, the prospect of Paddon vs Evans and Taylor vs Gilmour is one to gain the attention of a while new breed of rally fans, and would be well worth seeing!

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Peter has been the editor of RallySport Magazine since its inception in 1989, in both printed and online form. He is a long-time competitor, event organiser and official, as well as working in the media.

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