Paddon survives gravel, rain and SVG to win Daybreaker Rally
Six-time national champion Hayden Paddon has driven to a comfortable victory at the Daybreaker Rally on Saturday – the fourth round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship.
Paddon (Hyundai NZ i20 Rally 2) was in control throughout, battling being the first car on the road and being forced to sweep roads laden with gravel in the morning before being challenged by rain later in the day.
He beat Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen (Giltrap/LJ Hooker Audi) by just over three minutes in another sublime performance.
Van Gisbergen showcased his phenomenal talents once again, to be within a second of a kilometre of WRC star Paddon while proving too quick for championships regulars Raana Horan (Generator Rental Services Skoda Fabia Rally 2) and Ben Hunt (Skoda New Zealand Fabia Rally 2).
All three were forced to deal with lingering dust early in the day – Hunt was also hampered by a brake issue early on.
Horan completed the podium to stay in the championship fight with Paddon while Hunt finished sixth.
Former Daybreaker Rally winner Todd Bawden was fourth in his Online Contractors Ford Fiesta in a solid drive – his first since Whangarei in May.
Dylan Thomson had all but sewed up the NZRC 2WD championship after holding a healthy lead in his Ford Fiesta Rally 4 starting the final stage at Manfeild.
But he got caught out in the standing water on the track and slid off into the kitty litter and beached himself.
Earlier title rival Jackson Clendon (Ford Fiesta Rally 4) retired with a mechanical problem while Jordan Grant (Suzuki Swift) had a big crash.
Bryn Jones nursed a damaged gear box in his Ford Fiesta Rally 4 to get home for a maiden class win that propels him very much into title calculations.
He headed off Charlie Evans (Honda Civic) and Tim Mackersy (Ford Fiesta) in the class.
Marcus van Klink celebrated his return to the championship with a superb drive to be first overall 2WD competitor and won the Open 2WD class in his Mazda RX8.
Dan Haines was second in his Ford Escort and was able to capitalize on title rival Glenn Alcorn’s heavy crash. Thankfully the Australian-based Irishman and co-driver Jonathan Charlesson were both unhurt.
Dave Strong was third in his Honda Jazz.
John Silcock was able to secure the Historic 2WD championship for the second successive season after finishing second in his class in the Mazda RX7. Earlier in the day he had trailed title rival Stewart Reid before the Australian had to retire with mechanical failure.
Former class champion Anthony Jones claimed the win in his Ford Escort in his return to the championship. It follows son Bryn’s break-through win in his class to make it a special day for the family.
Experienced campaigner Grant Blackberry (Mitsubishi EVO 10) won the Rally Challenge 4WD class in a sterling drive for fifth overall. Dave Sievers battle illness to be second in his Subaru while defending class champion Jeff Ward (Subaru) edged youngster Zeal Jones (Subaru) for third after yet another see-sawing battle between the pair in the title battle.
Ward and Jones’ fight for the 2023 class win will go to the final round in Bay of Plenty.
Jono Shapley celebrated his return to the championship with an impressive class in in the 2WD Rally Challenge.
Shapley, in his Toyota Vitz, beat out Dan Alexander (Toyota Starlet) and Jared Parker (Toyota Corolla).
The championship heads to Rally Bay of Plenty for the season finale on October 22.