Azores Rallye

Paddon pulls clear in TER W Series round 1 Otago Rally


Hyundai New Zealand driver targets tenth event win


In the first day of sporting action of Otago Rally, opening round of the new TER W Series, 9-time event winner, TER Series Ambassador, 2022 TER – Tour European Rally, Asia-Pacific and New Zealand Champion, Hyundai New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon, codriven by John Kennard on the Hyundai i20 N Rally2’s maiden outing in Otago took a clean sweep of stage wins, over roads to the west of Oamaru last used in 2018 including the famous stage over Danseys Pass, the ‘Shag Valley’ test with a famous jump, and the final tarmac ‘Super Special Stage’ on the streets of Dunedin.


The overnight leaders have nearly 2 minutes in hand over their closest rivals, Ari Pettigrew with Jason Farmer, while third place is for Ben Hunt and Tony Rawstorn with a Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo.


Just outside the podium, Dunedin’s Emma Gilmour, codriven by Claire Mole, is learning her new Citroën C3 Rally2 which she will use in the NZRC championship. Losing some time in the day’s penultimate stage, she maintains fourth by only 4,7 seconds on Jack Hawkeswood and Jeff Cress’s Toyota GR Yaris AP4. Olympic medallist and three-time World Champion BMX racer Sarah Walker is enjoying her rallying debut.


A great battle is opposing two Ford Escorts RS in the International Classic Rally of Otago: Finn former WRC Works driver Mikko Hirvonen has a lead of exactly 30 seconds Deane Buist, a past winner of the event.


The final day of Otago Rally comprises over 130 stage kilometres, running over seven tests south of Dunedin.

Photo: Geoff Ridder/

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