Paddon enters Otago Classic Rally in Ford Escort
Hayden Paddon has been confirmed as an impressive addition to the field for this months Stadium Cars & Nichibo Otago Classic Rally driving a brand new Ford Escort RS1800.
Paddon has been invited to drive Tony Goslings recently completed 2 litre BDA powered Escort in the popular event, which will be his first time driving a RWD car for quite some time. Gosling will drive Jeff Judd’s Mk1 Ford Escort in the event and the duo will compete under the Stadium Cars Motorsport banner.
Paddon is competing in this years Super 2000 World Rally Championship
and with the large break between events, is spending some time back in
New Zealand and is viewing the opportunity as a chance to not only get
some valuable seat time, but also to drive a car that he has fond
memories growing up as a fan of the sport.
“It’ll be a bit of fun. Something a bit different.” Paddon told speedstuff.
“It’s great to have Tony and Stadium Car’s support. Our first priority
will be to have fun and get to the finish but we’d like to help Stadium
Cars out and be right at the pointy end.
“We’re just going to go and do our thing, get used to the car and hopefully that will treat us well.”
“The Escorts sound and look so cool, when you look back to the 70′s and
80′s they were the car to beat. Ari Vatanen was a legend in these cars
and certainly a hero of mine. He and his son now play a big part in our
career so that link is kind of cool.”
“Although it’s obviously a very different car to what we’re used to, the
seat time will be fantastic. At the end of the day we’re still doing a
rally and it’s about being in that mindset, doing the recce and keeping
“Driving a different car will actually be good because it means we’re having to think more about what I’m doing.”
Paddon will have regular co-driver John Kennard calling the notes.
Kennard has a long association with the event, helping it achieve it’s
status as a top shelf event by assisting with bringing over and
supporting top international drivers to headline previous rallies.
Gosling, who hasn’t driven the car himself yet, says that having Paddon drive the car for the first time will be an honor.
“To have a talent in Hayden drive the new car for the first time will be a real buzz.” Gosling said.
“It’s a beautiful car, it will be very fast and I’m very sure Hayden will do it justice.”
“I have to thank Brent Buist for his assistance in building the car, Ken
Jacobs from Cosworth in the States for his enthusiasm and support,
Steve Weeber who is a legend when it comes to building these engines and
Roger Townshend for the inspiration and advice he has given me along
Paddon will have some stiff competition in the form of former British
Rally Champion Gwyndaf Evans, multiple event winner Derek Ayson, Marcus
van Klink in his Group B RX7 and Aussies Geoff Portman and Stewart Reid
to name a few.
The Otago Classic Rally is held over May 25 – 27 and runs in conjunction
with the third round of the New Zealand Rally Championship, an event
Paddon has won twice before, most recently last year.