The opening round (of six) for the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), Paddon will join the four international entrants vying for the winner’s trophy – that he lifted in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
Driving the locally built Hyundai i20 Paddon will start first car on the road, with Mal Peden alongside as co-driver.
“The camber of the roads, where you’re jumping from corner-to-corner over the crown of the road is quite a sensation.”
Young says he’s keen to test himself and the lighter Cusco backed Toyota Yaris on roads he knows well, having finished third overall in 2016. The car is powered by a Lexus 2000cc direct injection turbo engine supplied as part of a joint project with TRD Japan (Toyota Techno Craft Co., Ltd.).
“It will be hugely beneficial on the Day One stages when its more twisty and narrow. Being lighter I’ll be able to brake later and throw the car around easier,” said 25-year-old Young. “I definitely want to improve from 2016, speed was good then, but I think we should be able to get more out of the Toyota.”
Other entrants include Yuya Sumiyama and Takahiro Yasui (Japan) in a Skoda Fabia R5, Fabio Frisiero and Simone Scattolin (Italy) in a Peugeot 208 and Fuyuhiko Takahashi and Mitsuo Nakamura (Japan) in a Subaru STI.
Following the four international entries will be a strong field of mainly Kiwi competitors. Included in that field, mostly contesting the second round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, will be defending Australian Rally Champion Nathan Quinn and Kiwi co-driver David Calder in a Ford Fiesta R5.
A total of 20 cars round out the main field with an additional 33 in the subsidiary clubman’s field.
Taking in roads to the north and south of host city Whangarei the event starts on Friday night with two Super Special Stages at the William Fraser Memorial Park. On Saturday teams cover 150km of competition broken into eight stages. Sunday concludes with a further eight stages and 124km of competition before returning to Whangarei and the ceremonial finish at the Quayside Town Basin.
Spectating at the Friday night start and Pohe Island Super Special Stage is $15 per adult (or $20 at the gate). While access to the rural stage spectator points is $10 per day.
Best viewing spectator points are marked on the event map, available from the website http://www.rallywhangarei.co.nz/whangarei-map-a3-2018-v4
For the Saturday there are nine designated viewing areas covering easily accessible road junctions, with a further seven locations covering Sunday’s stages. In addition is the free-to-view ceremonial finish at Whangarei’s Quayside Town Basin from 3pm on the Sunday.
Source: Event Release