It was a competitive field of Kiwi drivers’ that took part in the 11th 2008 World Rally Championship event, Rally New Zealand. Two drivers’ showed their worth with Hayden Paddon and John Kennard wrapping up the NZRC title and Richard and Sara Mason dominating a top Production World Rally Championship field. Here’s Lance Hastie’s rally review….
Paddon wins rally championship, Mason leads world field
The second day of Repco Rally New Zealand has been a winning one for Kiwi drivers Hayden Paddon and Richard Mason, concluding the penultimate round of the 2008 Vantage Aluminium Joinery New Zealand Rally Championship.
The fifth of six rounds in the 2008 season, Mason’s lead over the Production World Rally Championship (P-WRC) field has given him the round victory while Paddon finished with enough points to secure the overall Goldstar championship title.
Contested over the first two days of Repco Rally New Zealand , the Kiwi teams are directly pitted against the worlds best drivers here for the 11th round of the World Rally Championship. Using six roads in the Franklin and Port Waikato districts for the second of the three-day event, the early morning journey from the Mystery Creek Event Centre concluded with Mason taking his third round win of the season.
”We love Rally New Zealand,” said Mason. “The roads suit my style they are always good. I think it has been good it hasn’t rained with the hard compound tyre, which has been a big learning curve for us and the dry has made the grip more consistent.
”We’ve been surprised we’ve been so far ahead of the other guys as were just doing the same thing we always do. Although there are times when weve been going pretty hard but we have to stay within ourselves as well.”
Currently twelfth overall directly behind the World Rally Cars, Mason finished the day three minutes clear of Paddon. The 21-year old from Geraldine slowed in the final stages as he sought to secure his maiden championship title by keeping the car on the road. His added incentive of finishing was to keep to the shipping timetable of having his car arrive in Malaysia for the Pirelli Star Driver qualifying event in early October.
”Its an improvement on where we were yesterday,” commented Paddon. “The championship (win) is absolutely great, but it definitely hasn’t sunk in as we are going for another day tomorrow. It has been a really hard weekend and we will try a few new things tomorrow, not give up, get on that pace and get on the podium for P-WRC,” said Paddon who is 20 seconds adrift from his goal.
Paddons finish also secures the junior title for the third year in succession.
Third for the round Hastings driver Stewart Taylor had a number of anxious moments early in the day following the collapse of the steering column in his Lancer EVO 9 on Friday.
Fourth after another consistent run, Rotoruas Emma Gilmour and English co-driver Claire Mole were happy to bring the Vantage Subaru Impreza home. Emma conceded the onus was on her to keep pushing to the limits of her car after getting on top of previous handling woes that have dogged her season.
Todays major casualty in the championship race was Christchurch s Chris West who rolled three kilometres in to the third test of the day the 31km CRC Franklink stage. Able to continue after the assistance of fellow championship competitors Andre Meier and Jason Farmer, West returned with largely superficial damage.
The two-wheel drive Group N competition field concluded with Australia s Brendan Reeves taking the win in Kayne Barrie Ford Fiesta, ahead of the two-car family team Patrick Malley and father Dermott in third.
”We had a pretty good day this morning,” said the 19-year old from Victoria. ”We struggled this arvo but the aim of today was to win the day and Fiesta cup and hopefully win the class over the whole weekend. Were really happy and will keep going tomorrow and finish the whole rally.
”I would love to do Nelson (rally) to try get a wildcard entry to the M-Sport Ford Fiesta final later on this year thats the aim.”
The one-day Kiwi-2 and classic battle followed behind the WRC cars the field part of the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally.
A depleted field in the Kiwi-2 class gained championship momentum when class leader Aaron Cook damaged the rear suspension in his Honda Jazz. That opens up the title race with 17 points separating a chasing Patrick Malley in a Ford Fiesta with a final round to complete.
Auckland s Rob Wylie (Nissan 240RS) secured his maiden rally championship victory by maintaining his lead in the classic category – placing directly behind round winner Bert Murray in the Mainfreight Mazda RX7.
A closely fought competition throughout the season, Wylie kept his pace comfortably ahead of the following pack to ensure a faster Murray couldnt up-end his title lead.
Third was Hawke’s Bay driver Keith Frankum in a Toyota Corolla AE86.
With a three-week turn-around to the final of the six-month season, the 0800 Boxman Rally of Nelson will conclude the six round championship using traditional forestry roads on Sunday 22nd September.
Results: Day two Repco Rally New Zealand – Vantage Aluminium Joinery New Zealand Rally Championship top-ten
|1||61||Richard Mason/Sara Mason (Masterton)|| Subaru|
Impreza WRX STi
|2||59||Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (Geraldine)|| Mitsubishi|
Lancer EVO IX
|3||38||Stewart Taylor/Warwick Searle (Hastings)|| Mitsubishi|
Lancer EVO IX
|4||67||Emma Gilmour/Claire Mole (Rotorua)|| Subaru|
Impreza WRX STi
|5||82||Brendan Reeves/Rhianon Smyth ( Victoria AU)|| Ford|
|6||83||Patrick Malley/Raymond Bennett ( Auckland )||
|7||69||Sloan Cox/Tarryn Cox (Rotorua)|| Mitsubishi|
Lancer EVO VIII
|8||64||Callum McInnes/David Calder (Tauranga)|| Subaru|
Impreza WRX STi
|9||74||Kirsty Nelson/Michele Brunt (Northland)|| Subaru|
|10||110||Robert Murray/Stu Jenkinson (Palmerston North)|| Mazda|
Vantage Aluminium Joinery New Zealand Rally Championship Goldstar points – top ten (after round five of six)
|1||Hayden Paddon (Geraldine)||252|
|2||Richard Mason (Masterton)||196|
|3||Chris West ( Christchurch )||191|
|4||Stewart Taylor ( Hastings )||186|
|5||Brett Martin (Masterton)||152|
|6||Emma Gilmour (Rotorua)||122|
|7||Callum McInnes (Tauranga)||120|
|8||Sloan Cox (Rotorua)||105|
|9||Andre Meier ( Cambridge )||103|
|10||Dean Sumner (Rotorua)||98|