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Sun 02 Oct 2022

Home hero Paddon storms to statement WRC2 victory

Hayden Paddon stormed to WRC2 victory at Repco Rally New Zealand, winning the premier support category by over two-and-a-half minutes in his Hyundai i20 N Rally2.

The fan-favourite led from start to finish, collecting three further stage wins on Sunday's final leg to end 2min 33.1sec ahead of Škoda Fabia Rally2 driver Kajetan Kajetanowicz. Kajetanowicz was also happy and picked up 20 points from his New Zealand adventure to climb to second in the WRC2 standings behind Andreas Mikkelsen.

“This is everything we wanted,” proclaimed Paddon. “It was what we were expected to do and what I expected.

“When you have a bit of a lead on day one, it puts the pressure on you to not make mistakes so we just tried to keep it clean.”

Rounding out the podium was a driver more accustomed to circuit racing, Shane van Gisbergen. The two-time Supercars champion made his WRC debut and wasted little time getting to grips with his Fabia, pushing Kajetanowicz hard until a puncture on Saturday’s final test halted his charge. He eventually finished 52sec down on the WRC2 regular.

Australian champion Harry Bates was contesting his first rally in a Fabia and on Pirelli tyres. He came home fourth after taking some time to adjust to the changes on what was a mixed weekend.

Rounding out the top-five was Citroën C3 Rally2 driver Armin Kremer, who moved to the top of the WRC2 Masters Cup standings with a class win.

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