Rally star duo on top of the world

Rally star duo on top of the world

Kiwi rallying duo Hayden Paddon and John Kennard have delivered their first-ever WRC round win – and may have sold a few Hyundai i20s along the way.

It’s the first time a New Zealander has ever won a round of the FIA World Rally Championship – and Rally Argentina isn’t an easy one, with the rocky horrorshow known as El Condor one of the final stages.

The Geraldine native has already pedalled his way to the mantle of most successful Kiwi rally driver on the world stage – a title previously held by the late, great Possum Bourne.

Bourne’s Subarus were iconic vehicles amongst Kiwi motorsport fans, and he could be very fairly described as one the best salesmen the brand ever had in New Zealand.

Paddon and Kennard put in solid performances on WRC events to be bumped up the order at the factory-backed Hyundai Motorsport team to a full-time drive.

The win marks the Korean brand’s first win on gravel, and second win outright, since its inception.

Paddon’s sizzling victory is the best result imaginable for the new-generation i20 WRC, on only its fourth outing.

“It’s an amazing feeling, to win like this, on the last stage where the odds were a little bit against us,” said Paddon at the rally finish. “We lost a lot of time in the previous stage and just over two seconds margin going into that last one – I didn’t have a lot of confidence, but we just pushed like hell.”

“We’ve worked a lot on that stage in the three weeks before the rally because I’ve not been particularly strong on the tight and twisty stages,” admits Paddon “It’s a fantastic result for me, John and the whole team. A huge amount of work has gone into the New Generation i20 WRC. I knew from the first test that we could win with it. I just didn’t quite expect it to be so soon.

“Everyone in the team, at the rallies and at Alzenau, thoroughly deserves this result. I am sure it’s the start of a lot more to come! I am thankful for everyone who has supported us back home in New Zealand and for all the positive messages we’ve received this weekend.”

Long-time supporter Andy Sinclair, boss of Hyundai New Zealand is understandably rapt with the outstanding result.

“At Hyundai New Zealand, we have had the great pleasure of working with Hayden since he secured his contract with Hyundai Motorsport,” says Sinclair.

“Hayden’s talent, professionalism and determination shine through in everything he does – he and John work incredibly hard and this success is surely just the start of many more such victories. We are looking forward to joining Hayden, John and the Hyundai New Zealand Rally Team crew at the International Rally of Whangarei this week as they compete for the second time in our New Zealand-built i20 rally car, a rally car supported by Hyundai New Zealand.”

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