Tue 11 Oct 2022

Paddon 2022 was a massive step up

A proud 'Kiwi' first and foremost, it wasn’t just his own performance that meant a lot to Hayden Paddon as the WRC returned to his native shores for the first time in a decade.

As the poster boy of the rally and his country’s unofficial ambassador in the world of WRC, Paddon was understandably monitoring the event and feedback throughout the Repco Rally New Zealand weekend closely. The verdict?

“I am just proud of the rally,” enthused Paddon.

“I think what the organisers and everyone has pulled off for this event is a massive step up from 10 years ago and it showcases to the world that Rally New Zealand is serious about WRC.”

Despite inclement weather, fans turned out in their droves, including a sell-out crowd on the specially-built Jack’s Ridge test which played host to Sunday’s Wolf Power Stage.

“It belongs here. The fans are out here to make the most of it. I’m just proud to be part of it.”

The Hyundai New Zealand-backed South Islander produced a near-perfect run in WRC2 over the weekend to comfortably win the WRC’s premier support category. Such was the rate of attrition on the demanding wet and wild event, Paddon also finished an incredible sixth overall.

Paddon, a former WRC rally winner, has made no secret of his desire to return to the top tier of the championship. But for now, the focus is on improving his i20 N Rally2 ahead of a planned full season in WRC2 next year.

“We are trying to get the budget together to do a WRC2 programme next year," Paddon continued. "That is still the priority. We want to do a lot of development on this [i20 N Rally2], we have a lot of things we want to do with it for next year.

“I would love the opportunity to get into a Rally1 car for some selected rallies, not a full campaign, I am probably past that. But I would like to get back. There are events where I think I could give a decent nudge and still be competitive.”

WRC2 - Repco Rally New Zealand 2022: Event Highlights
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