Paddon confirms Otago Rally entry in BDA Escort
The Stadium Cars International Classic Rally of Otago has received a major boost, with newly-signed Hyundai World Rally Championship driver, Hayden Paddon, confirming his entry in the May 10 and 11 event.
Paddon will be back behind the wheel of the Stadium Finance Ford Escort RS1800 that he last drove on the event two years ago.
“It’s great to return to the classic rally field – I’ve competed in this
just once before, in 2012, when John and I had a puncture which cost us
seven minutes while leading the classic field,” Paddon says.
time, equipped with the right tools and with more experience driving
the rear-wheel-drive BDA, I’m really looking forward to the whole event.
A big thanks to Tony Gosling from Stadium Finance for giving me the
opportunity to drive his car again.
“As every rally fan knows,
the BDA Escort is an iconic car in the history of rallying and even 30
years since the first BDA, they are still one of the fastest 2WD rally
cars, and a heap of fun to drive on some of my favourite rally stages in
“The car also has a few new upgrades compared to
when I last drove it, including MCA suspension, so it should be a dream
“The Stadium Cars Otago Rally will be a good chance to
get back into the rhythm of rallying again as it’s been over six months
since our last event. Despite the car being quite different to what we
will drive in Rally Sardenga a month later, every kilometre behind the
wheel provides a good warm-up for doing reconnaissance, writing pace
notes, the timing and speed of an event overall.”
For one of only
a handful of times in the last eight years, New Zealand’s top rally
driver will not have regular co-driver, John Kennard, in the opposite
seat. Instead young, up-and-coming Kiwi co-driver, Malcolm Read, will
read the pacenotes.
“Malcolm Read is stepping into the car with
me for Stadium Cars Otago Rally as a way to begin working with the team
in the longer term,” Paddon said.
“Later in the year he will
join us on WRC events to assist with our gravel notes and John has
already taken Malcolm under his wing to start passing on his wealth of
knowledge. Together, the team seeks to help Malcolm develop into a world
Read is understandably excited about the
opportunity ahead of him and also comprehends the sheer volume of hard
work needed to succeed in world rallying.
“This is a fantastic
opportunity and it’s amazing that both Hayden and John are willing to
support my development in the sport. Obviously it will be very important
for me to learn as much as I can this year,” says Read, who won the FIA
Asia Cup for Co-drivers alongside Opotiki’s Michael Young last year.
really looking forward to Otago, where I’ll be learning and using
Hayden’s pacenote system for the first time. Thankfully John will be
with us on recce and in the service park to guide me through it. It’s
going to be an exciting weekend!”
This year’s Stadium Cars
International Classic Rally of Otago sports a star-studded entry list
including 1994 World Rally Champion Didier Auriol, last year’s Otago
Classic Rally champion Neal Bates, and many of New Zealand’s best
classic drivers, including Derek Ayson, Brian Stokes and Dean Buist.
adds: “It is going to be a fast rally this year, with some very good
competition and some fast public road stages around the Lawrence region
that have not been used before. I can’t wait.”
reconnaissance of the rally route on Thursday and Friday, the rally gets
underway with a motor show and ceremonial start in Dunedin city on
Day one, Saturday, takes competitors south-west
of Dunedin using six spectacular and fast public road stages between
Milton and Lawrence and concludes with the ever-popular super special
stage in downtown Dunedin.
Day two, Sunday, takes in eight
stages to the south of Dunedin including the legendary ‘Kuri Bush’ and a
welcome return to the Berwick Forest. A total of 286km of special
stages will provide a huge challenge.