Hayden Paddon fastest at ENEOS International Rally of Whangarei shakedown
WRC driver Hayden Paddon and co-driver Mal Peden have set fastest time in their Hyundai i20 at today’s shakedown event ahead of the weekend’s 4-6 May ENEOS International Rally of Whangarei.
The opening round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and the second round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC), Paddon set a time of 49.7sec across the 1km course.
Second fastest was the leading international entrant – Australian based Kiwi Mike Young and co-driver Malcolm Read in the Cusco backed Toyota Vitz, set a best time of 51sec.
Third fastest was visiting Australians Richie Dalton and Dale Moscatt in the Ford Fiesta.
Set to be used for tonight’s double-run Pohe Island Super Special Stage, the shakedown is a chance for cars and crews to complete final checks ahead of the two-day competition across rural Northland roads. A total 53 teams will contest 277km of competitive distance, broken into 18 special stages.
Other internationals competing include Yuya Sumiyama and Takahiro Yasui (Japan) in a Skoda Fabia R5, Fabio Frisiero and Simone Scattolin (Italy) in a Peugeot 208 and Fuyuhiko Takahashi and Mitsuo Nakamura (Japan) in a Subaru STI.
The line-up also includes current Australian Rally Champion Nathan Quinn and David Calder in the Neil Allport run Ford Fiesta.
The action starts this Friday evening, following an autograph session and official welcome at Whangarei’s “The Fishhook of Pohe” bridge (Te Matau A Pohe) from 5pm. Then cars then contest the Pohe Island Super Special Stage – a one-kilometre long course through the William Fraser Memorial Park, which starts at 7:10pm. Entry to the start and stage is $20 at the gate.
On the Saturday the journey begins at 6:30am as the event heads north for the day’s three double-run stages that loop up toward Piahia and then across to Helena Bay before returning to Whangarei and a service break. The journey is repeated in the afternoon before the cars are again placed in a secure overnight park.
Sunday starts at 7am with the action heading south through Waipu Caves and Millbrook areas before heading west and north through Waiotira and back to Whangarei for a service break mid-morning. Following the late morning early afternoon repeat run the cars then arrive back in Whangarei for the ceremonial finish, held at the Quayside Town Basin from 3pm.
Access to the rural stage spectator points is $10 per day.
The event also receives support from Whangarei District Council and Far North District Council.