Paddon headlines NZ round of APRC

Eight teams will start this weekend’s qualifying round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) – to be held at New Zealand’s Otago Rally 31 March to 2 April 2023.

Top of the list is 2022 APRC champion Hayden Paddon in a Hyundai i20N Rally 2 car.

Paddon and co-driver John Kennard will start the rally behind the classic Ford Escort of former WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen and Jarno Ottman.

Covering 267.46km broken in to 15 special stages the teams will cover a total of 781km of New Zealand’s southern countryside. Starting from Dunedin’s Octagon on the Friday evening the action begins Saturday morning on fast flowing roads to the north of the city.

Sunday uses roads to the south, returning to the city for a champagne celebration at 3pm.

Hayden Paddon, 2022 Coffs Coast
A round of the Pacific Cup, a sub-category to the overall title, Otago Rally is the first of two rounds to be held in New Zealand.

By starting the rally each team is eligible to contest the all-in final – being held at Indonesia’s Danau Toba Rally – 24 to 26 November.

Along with Paddon, the weekend’s entry list includes 2019 APRC finalists Mike Young (Toyota C-HR) and Jack Hawkeswood (Toyota GR Yaris). Australian Richie Dalton and co-driver Mac Kierans are the only international entry.

Also entered is former New Zealand champion Ben Hunt (Skoda), Ari Pettigrew (Holden), Emma Gilmour (Citroen), Richie Dalton (Skoda), Todd Bawden (Ford).