New Zealand World Rally Championship driver Hayden Paddon has taken a stunning victory in the Otago Rally, round two of the 2015 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship. Paddon and co-driver John Kennard showed the class that has taken them to the World Rally Championship by winning the event outright in an Historic class BDA Escort, the first two wheel drive victory in the national championship since Neil Allport in 1987.
Tauranga driver Phil Campbell started the final day with a 16.4 second advantage which he extended on the mornings four stages to 30.3 seconds. But a determined charge by Paddon and co-driver John Kennard over the next two stages saw the deficit trimmed to just 7.8seconds going into the final 15 kilometre test at Kuri Bush. Paddon produced a scintillating drive in the Stadium Finance BDA over the super fast and undulating stage, to be 10.4 seconds faster and snatch the rally win by a 2.5 second winning margin.
“The results a surprise. First and foremost we came here to enjoy ourselves in a rear wheel drive BDA and we did just that. Thanks to Tony Gosling for the use of his car and to our entire team for their efforts. A great result before we head back to Europe and our next WRC event in Portugal,” stated Paddon at the rally finish.
Second for Campbell and co-driver Venita Fabbro in the Roofing Store Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, see the pair move to second in the championship standings. Te Aroha driver Lance Williams and co-driver Crunch Bennett had a consistent run to claim the final podium position in their Subaru Impreza R4. Auckland driver Dylan Turner finished fourth to move to third in the championship while Nelson driver Ben Hunt recovered from a puncture to finish 5th and maintain his overall championship lead after the opening two rounds.
American rally star Ken Block rejoined the rally for the second leg after an engine sensor issue halted his rally while leading on day one. Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino were fastest over the Sunday stages to take the leg 2 honours in the Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta by 35 seconds. Canterbury driver Matt Summerfield who also rejoined following engine problems on the first day finished second for leg 2, and also taking the 5 championship bonus points for winning the Power Stage.
Marcus Van Klink extended his lead in the BNT Classic Championship, finishing second in both the Classic championship round and the Otago Classic Rally, heading off visiting driver Alister McRae from Scotland in a Ford Escort BDA who was third in the Classic Rally. Tauranga’s Andy Martin also scoring a good haul of points with third in the Classic championship round.
The 2015 Brian Green Property Group NZ Rally Championship next heads to the Ashley Forest in three weeks time for the Lone Star Rally of Canterbury on 29th/30th May.
Final results – DriveSouth Rally Otago
1. Hayden Paddon/John Kennard – BDA
2. Phil Campbell/Venita Fabbro – Mitsubishi (+2.5 seconds)
3. Lance Williams/Crunch Bennett – Subaru (+2min 41.1)
4. Dylan Turner/Malcolm Read – Mitsubishi (+4min 36.5)
5. Ben Hunt/Tony Rawstorn – Subaru (+4min 47.9)
Standings in the 2015 Brian Green Property Group NZ Rally Champiosnhip after round two of six.
1. Ben Hunt (Nelson – Subaru) 66 points
2. Phil Campbell (Tauranga – Mitsubishi) 59
3. Matt Summerfield (Rangiora – Subaru) 43
4. Dylan Turner (Auckland – Mitsubishi) 42
5. Hayden Paddon (Geraldine – BDA) 38