Paddon wins on home soil

Hayden Paddon warmed up for next month's Neste Rally Finland (26-29 July) by dominating the latest round of the New Zealand Rally Championship at the weekend.

The Hyundai driver has a limited programme of WRC events with the Korean manufacturer in 2018 and Finland will mark only his fourth start of the season. His outing at the South Canterbury Rally was therefore used to keep his competition skills on point.

The Kiwi won the Timaru-based event by almost five minutes as he partnered former WRC co-driver John Kennard in an AP4-specification Hyundai i20.

Paddon won 10 of the 11 stages, contested on the same gravel roads that he regularly drove when he was starting his rallying career as a teenager.

“I enjoyed the day thoroughly. The morning was a bit sketchy with a lot of ice on the stages which made it very difficult,” he explained. “Running first on the road, we were the ones exploring where the grip was – or wasn’t.

“In the afternoon, when it was a bit more flowing, it was really nice. The car was feeling good and we enjoyed ourselves.”

Paddon will head back to Europe after his third New Zealand championship win of the season and continue to build up to Rally Finland by tackling next month’s Rally Estonia.

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