David Holder and co-driver Jason Farmer piloted their Hyundai i20 AP4+ rally car to victory in the opening round of the 2017 New Zealand Rally Championship.
The defending champions had to work hard for the win at Rally Otago against fellow AP4 drivers Andrew Hawkeswood and Rhys Gardner, but delivered strong, consistent pace in the Paddon Rallysport-prepared Hyundai to secure the round win.
Holder, now from Tauranga, but originally from Southland, says the car ran perfectly all weekend.
“We’re stoked!” says Holder. “The car made my job easy so Jason and I could focus on what we needed to do. And the whole team, the way it all worked, the smooth organisation, was fantastic.
“Huge thanks Hyundai New Zealand and Paddon RallySport for helping us have a trouble-free run in Otago. The team give us a great car; the guys helped a lot with setup and that side of things.
“Other than a wee spin on Sunday’s first stage, which was down to a few nerves being the first stage of the day, I’m pretty happy how we dealt with the pressure this weekend. It’s a big ask driving for Hyundai in a new car. We knew we needed to finish this rally, that was our number one goal. We turned our phones off and enjoyed it – the roads were great! So that’s probably the biggest accomplishment for me and Jason, just having dealt with everything’s that’s been going on.”
The pair worked hard on their preparation for their first drive for the Hyundai New Zealand Rally Team in the AP4 Hyundai that Kiwi world rally star Hayden Paddon drove to a record-breaking win in this event last year.
“Jason and I are working better and better with each rally together. Our preparation for each rally is getting better too, especially with pace-notes – Jason’s working hard to help me out there.
“One thing I’ve picked up from Hayden is watching more in-car video footage for better stage knowledge prior to driving the stages. That’s given me more confidence too. So we’re rapt it’s all come together to achieve these results this weekend.”
Chris Paddon, who’s co-managing the team with son Hayden, was full of praise for the team, Holder and Farmer.
“The whole weekend has run faultlessly – the driving, the car, the team, the event and the weather,” says Paddon. “But David and Jason had to fight right to the end, there was no forgone conclusion. Rally Otago had a fantastic field and delivered the toughest competition I’ve seen in all my years in rallying. It was fantastic for our Hyundai to win and gives us a good base to build on for the rest of the championship.”
Holder and Hamilton-based Farmer are back in the Hyundai i20 AP4+ car for the second NZRC round, the International Rally of Whangarei running 29-30 April.
Holder says they have some work to do on notes. “I’ll be working on my fitness as well. It’s way better than it’s ever been and I feel a lot fresher after the rally, but there’s still areas I’d like to improve on.”
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2017 Hyundai New Zealand Rally Team schedule
Round 1: Rally of Otago, Dunedin – 8-9 April (Holder)
Round 2: International Rally of Whangarei – 28-30 April (Holder)
Round 3: Canterbury Rally, Christchurch – 4 June (Quantock)
Round 4: Rally of Coromandel – 26 August (Paddon)
Round 5: Rally Waikato, Waitomo – 14 October (Quantock)
Round 6, Rally New Zealand, Tauranga – 25-26 November (Paddon)