Hayden Paddon leads Day 1 of the Rally of Whangarei and Gaurav Gill is 2nd, 1 minute and 12 seconds behind. Alister McRae is third in APRC nearly 2 minute off the leader while Australian Brendan Reeves is 4th 18 seconds further back.
“Everything has been going smoothly, with the car going great, and the whole team have also been doing a fantastic job. Inside the car we have just been worrying about our own job today, without taking too much notice of the times. The aim of the weekend is to further develop my driving and there is still plenty in the tank as we strive for the perfect stage”, said Paddon at end of day service.
Behind the leading four there has been drama, first for Kiwi wildcard Ben Jagger who crashed off on Stage 1, Chris Atkinson who retired on Stage 3 with a broken alternator belt and then APRC points leader Katsu Taguchi who has serious engine problems.
Taguchi’s RaceTorque crew did everything possible to repair a broken valve and turbo, but ran out of time to finish the job and pushed the MRF Mitsubishi into overnight parc ferme, hoping to finish the job tomorow morning.
Indonesian Rifat Sungkar had brake problems all day and then in the afternoon lost 1st and 2nd gear but with a new gear will be hoping to improve his 6th place and score important driver points.
Day 2 is expected to bring a change in the weather with heavy rains and gale force winds.