All six class champions back in 2023

All six class champions from 2022 are back in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship this year and all will be on show at next month’s season opener in Otago.

Open 4WD champion Hayden Paddon (Hyundai New Zealand i20 Rally 2) will look to defend his crown but will need a strong showing at the Otago Rally given he will miss some rounds due to his international commitments this year.

Dylan Thomson returns to defend his NZRC Group N 2WD championship alongside cousin co-driver Bayden Thomson in their Ford Fiesta ST150. They will have stiff competition from a very competitive chasing pack, however.

Dan Haines will look to defend his Open 2WD championship that he won last year in his Ford Escort. He battled veteran Dave Strong all season last year and Strong will no doubt be energised in his chase for an elusive title in 2023 along with a number of other contenders.

John Silcock will have to hold off the charge of Aussie Stewart Reid and the likes of Tony Gosling, Tim McIver and Mike Cameron in the Historic 2WD class.

Jeff Ward is back for another crack in the Rally Challenge 4WD class where he will battle Rally Challenge 2WD champion Jonty Brenssell, who has jumped up a class and will drive a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 this season.

The Otago Rally kicks off with a ceremonial opening in the Octagon on Friday March 31 before competition begins the next morning.


About The Author


The New Zealand Rally Championship is this country’s premier nationwide rally championship. It attracts New Zealand’s best drivers to compete in numerous categories for the prestigious MotorSport New Zealand-sanctioned rally championship titles. In 2024, there are six NZRC rounds, each with a unique character reflecting the diverse regions – from Northland to Invercargill