Kiwi world rally stars Hayden Paddon and John Kennard are teaming up to tackle this weekend’s Coromandel Rally in the Hyundai NZ i20 AP4+ rally car.
It’s the first time at Kennard has co-driven for Paddon since Rally Argentina in April; it’s also the first time Paddon has contested the Whitianga-based event. The one-day rally on Saturday 26 August is round four of the Brian Green Property New Zealand Rally Championship.
“New Zealand is the best place to rally in the world,” says Paddon, who returned to New Zealand immediately after contesting the German WRC round.
“I’ve never done this rally or these stages before, so it will be a new experience. It looks like a sunny, cold week, so will be a perfect weekend for rallying.
“I’m really looking forward the whole event; it will be great to get back in the car with John again, and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, the driving, and the good people in our fantastic New Zealand rally community.”
Blenheim-based Kennard says: “This weekend in Coromandel is really just about getting out and having some fun on a rally again, after the high-stress environment of WRC. It’ll also be cool to be back in the Hyundai i20 AP4+ with Hayden and certainly a thrill to be back on some of the best rally roads in the world.”
This is the first time Paddon has piloted the Paddon Rallysport-run Hyundai NZ i20 AP4+ rally car this year, with David Holder and Job Quantock both competing successfully in the car at the three earlier 2017 NZRC rounds.
Paddon says work on developing the new-in-2016 AP4+ Hyundai has continued throughout the season. “Our engineer Mike Pittams and Paddon Rallysport have been working around the clock on some small developments of the car, focused on engine and suspension. We will do a small test before the event to confirm these changes and settings for the rally.”
Paddon adds: “It’s been our first year with this programme, first time with some full-time staff involved, first time with different drivers in the car. We have big plans for where we want to take Paddon Rallysport in the future and this is all just the start. Hyundai New Zealand is a crucial and much valued part of the programme and they continue to support us and rally sport both here in New Zealand and internationally.”
Paddon is also looking forward to some fun trans-Tasman rivalry with Australian Brendan Reeves – who works with Paddon and Hyundai Motorsport on their WRC gravel note crew – making a one-off NZRC appearance for another team.
The one-day Mahindra Goldrush Rally Coromandel sees 56 crews tackle 135 competitive kilometres in seven special stages all over the Coromandel peninsula on forestry and public roads, some of which were last used for rallying on the 1979 International Motogard Rally of New Zealand.
Follow Paddon Rallysport on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paddonrallysport.