Paddon in charge at home event in South Canterbury

| Photographer Credit: Aaron Staples Photography

Hayden Paddon made the most of his return to his home rallying roads by winning the one-day Rally South Canterbury on 19 June in his Hyundai i20 AP4 with a handy margin of three minutes, 25.9 seconds.

With co-driver John Kennard alongside for this third round of the 2021 New Zealand Rally Championship, Paddon is only five points away from securing the championship title with two rounds to go.

The Kiwi rally star says, as the whole, the Paddon Rallysport team ticked all the boxes, namely secure to the rally win, win as many stages as possible and to set new stage records wherever possible. They were expecting the morning’s forestry stages to deliver challenging conditions. The stages certainly delivered those challenges with ice and mud proving tricky for numerous competitors to conquer and many falling by the wayside. But Paddon kept it clean and tidy – after three stages and 66km of rallying, he’d had extended his lead over the ever-decreasing field to one minute, 21.8 seconds.

As the afternoon progressed in finer than expected conditions, Paddon and Kennard continued to savour the high speed roads Paddon grew up competing on, taking their leading margin to over two minutes, 37 seconds by the end of SS7.

Next came the only glitch of the day – Paddon stalled the Hyundai while crossing a river in SS8, allowing Ben Hunt to win that stage.

Paddon’s run on the day’s final and tenth stage is a good example of the new speed records he set on six of today’s special stages. Paddon’s own record for four laps of the Levels racetrack on gravel tyres, set in 2019, was six minutes, 12.6 seconds. Today, he powered the AP4 Hyundai around the same course in just five minutes and 1.5 seconds.

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