Late puncture can’t prevent Paddon win

Hayden Paddon cruised to victory in Whangarei. Photo / Geoff Ridder

Even a final stage puncture couldn’t prevent Hayden Paddon from winning the International Rally of Whangarei presented by Mark Cromie Motor Group on Sunday.

The former WRC star cruised to victory by four minutes and nine seconds despite dropping three minutes on the final stage to change a puncture in his Hyundai NZ i20 AP4.

It backs up Paddon’s dominant win at the opening round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship at Otago last month.

Ben Hunt finished second to celebrate his birthday in his Hydraulink Subaru while Raana Horan was third – a further minute and 53 seconds back in his Generator Rental Services Skoda Fabia R5.

Kingsley Jones drove a sensible and trouble-free rally to claim fourth place in the Auckland Denture Clinic Skoda Fabia R5 while Hadyn McKenzie collected a brilliant fifth in his Mitsubishi on his first visit to the cambered roads of Whangarei.

Regan Ross backed up his podium finish in Otago to grab sixth in his Ford Fiesta R5.

Ari Pettigrew blew the 2WD competition away in his BMW 318ti, finishing a superb seventh overall and claiming the Open 2WD class win as well as overall 2WD win.

Four-time national champion Bruce Herbert was second overall in 2WD in his Mitsubishi Lancer EX with Anthony Jones third in the Ford Escort. Jones claimed class honours in the Historic 2WD class.

Dylan Thomson fought back on Sunday after dropping some time to Jordan Grant to win the FIA Group N 2WD class by 14.9 seconds.

The championship moves to South Canterbury for round three in late June.


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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