It may have been his home event and he may have had a lucky escape on the first stage, but New Zealander Hayden Paddon showed just he’s a champion in the making with a completely dominate win on the International Rally of Whangarei.
“During the afternoon stages with the worsening conditions, we backed off a notch to concentrate on getting to the end and completing a perfect weekend for the whole team”, Paddon commented at the end of the event.
“To stand on the top of the podium at the end with the New Zealand national anthem in the background is a very special feeling and now the target is to carry this confidence and development into the WRC with the remaining Pirelli rounds. I am also being realistic that it is a completely different kettle of fish overseas but that is now the target which I believe with a little more time and experience we can do”.
Malaysia manufacturer Proton have had a tough time in the APRC lately and Alister McRae’s 2nd place in New Zealand will give the team plenty of encouragement for future events.
Wildcard entries of New Zealanders Dean Sumner and Sloan Cox were 3rd and 4th in the Asia Pacific points – excellent results for two of the countries youngest competitors.
After a troubled event with all kinds of car problems and then a small off on Stage 2, Indonesian Rifat Sungkar salvaged 5th in APRC and secured excellent points in his quest for the title.
Australian Brendan Reeves drove a brillant event to easily win the APRC’s Pacific Cup catergory and pipped Alister McRae by 0.5 second for third overall.
Team award must go to MRF, replacing a head and turbo on Katsu Taguchi’s car and a complete gearbox and diff change for Gaurav Gill.
Both cars made it to the finish in 6th and 7th place, scoring enough points to keep the lead in the championship heading into the next round in Australia – The Rally of Queensland.
Final Outright Results – 2010 Rally Whangarei
1 – H.Paddon / J.Kennard, Mitsubishi EVO IX, 2:46:32.7
2 – E.Gilmour / B.Atkinson, Subaru Impreza WRX STi, 2:50:28.0
3 – B. Reeves / R. Smyth, Subaru Impreza WRX STi, 2:50:55.8
4 – A.McRae / B.Hayes, Proton Satria Neo, 2:50:56.3
5 – D.Sumner / P.Fallon, Mitsubishi EVO IX, 2:52:00.4
11 – R. Sungkar / S.Beckwith, Mitsubishi EVO IX, 3:06:18.8
16 – K.Taguchi / C.Murphy, Mitsubishi EVO X, 3:09:20.7
17 – G.Gill / G. Macneall, Mitsubishi EVO X, 3:10:19.5
18 – B.Green / F/Pedersen, Mitsubishi EVO X, 3:14:04.2
Story: Brian Young – www.aprc.tv. Photos: Michael Young – www.apsm.tv.