Paddon blitzes the field on Day 1 of Otago Rally
New Zealand's leading rally driver, Hayden Paddon, leads the Stadium Cars / Nichibo International Classic Rally of Otago by almost a minute after the first three night stages of the event.
Paddon, driving a brand new Ford Escort RS1800, blitzed the opening
night's stages and leads the Mazda RX7 of Marcus van Klink by 56.7
In fine and dry conditions, the winner for the past three years, Derek
Ayson, is in third place, a minute from the lead, with local driver
Duncan McCrostie (Nissan Bluebird Turbo) in fourth place.
Geoff Portman is the leading international driver, the Australian
holding down fifth place, 24 seconds clear of Welshman, Gwyndaf Evans.
Evans suffered brake problems on two of the night's stages and dropped
back, while one of the pre-event favourites, Australian Stewart Reid,
crashed his Escort BDA on the opening test.
The rally continues on Saturday with eight daylight stages, with the Dunedin street stage the final competitive test on day two.
Story and photos: Peter Whitten