The faultless service and professionalism of Paddon Rallysport running the Hyundai i20 AP4+ rally car are just some of the positives that Tauranga’s David Holder takes away from this weekend’s International Rally of Whangarei.
While a damaged cambelt meant the 2016 New Zealand Rally Championship was unable to finish, Holder says he continued to learn and improve during the second of his two drives in the Hyundai NZ Rally Team.
“At the outset of Saturday, it was nice to win the opening stage,” says Holder who competes with Hamilton’s Jason Farmer as his co-driver and took a well-deserved win at the opening New Zealand Rally Championship event in Otago earlier in April.
The pair won five stages during Saturday’s stages in Whangarei as heavy rain added challenges for the whole field.
“Our game plan was consistency,” Holder says. “With the weather conditions, we knew there’d be carnage, and then for a random stone hit the power steering line in special stage five, I thought to myself rallying has lots of challenges, let’s just get through the next stage. Even though we lost about a minute, I was stoked to get through the stage without getting passed by the competitor behind me.
“The teamwork was so smooth during service and the car was back to 100 percent when we headed back out for the afternoon, so we were keen to claw back some time.”
But a strong finish wasn’t to be, when a damaged cambelt meant Holder and Farmer had to retire on their way to the final stage.
Team co-manager Chris Paddon says the unexpected failure was hugely disappointing for the whole team after winning five of the day’s eight stages and being within 17 seconds of rally leader Matt Summerfield after the previous stage.
“Dave was going really well, getting more and more comfortable in the car with every kilometre,” says Paddon, father of world rally star Hayden Paddon. “We clearly had the superior car, but it’s just one of those things and once a cambelt goes, there’s too much to repair overnight. The i20 AP4 will be back in top form for Rally Canterbury when we’ll have young Job Quantock behind the wheel.”
Holder says he’s grateful for the opportunity to contest the Otago and Whangarei rallies in the Hyundai AP4+ rally car. “The calibre of our crew and the whole team’s professionalism has lifted my game. Normally I’d being trying to manage lots of things myself, so to focus on my driving has been fantastic. I’ve learnt more about tyre choices, about car setup, and much more.”
Holder says his entire focus has been doing the best possible job for Paddon Rallysport and Hyundai New Zealand during these two events. “It wasn’t a priority until now to think about what Jase and I will do next. We’re having a debrief tomorrow to work out where to from here.”
Twenty-two-year-old Quantock, who is originally from Ashburton and now based Ohoka, north of Christchurch, will drive the AP4 Hyundai at June’s Rally Canterbury and Rally Waikato in October courtesy of his win in the inaugural Hyundai NZ Young Driver Scholarship in December last year. Paddon takes over the i20 rally car for the other two NZRC events, Rally Coromandel in August and the two-day, Tauranga-based Rally New Zealand in November.
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