Wednesday, 09 November 2011 15:51

Geraldine champ burns Spanish tar

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KIWI RALLY driver Hayden Paddon recently set more fastest-stage times in the production class at the Rally of Spain, though he had to be content with eighth in the class. 

Paddon, from Geraldine (his dad is the farm machinery maker) was driving his Subaru WRX STI. 

He is the production-class world champion; co-driver is John Kennard, Blenheim. 

Of the 12 stages he contested on the second and third days of the event, Paddon was fastest on nine of them.

“The whole experience of tarmac driving and learning has been hugely successful,” said Paddon.

Following six final stages near Salou, between Barcelona and Valencia, Paddon said: “Today we picked up where we left off yesterday, winning all four of the longer stages by good margins.... My tarmac driving has gone a long way. 

“After incurring a 30 minute time penalty for retiring on day one, we ended up eighth in the Production World Rally Championship category, an improvement on the 13th place we started in Saturday morning.”

Despite being unable to compete at the front of the PWRC pack where he normally runs, Paddon achieved one of his core goals for the Spanish event. 

As the third-placed Subaru driver in Spain, he has won this year’s Subaru Challenge award, the prize money going to his Hayden Paddon Rallysport Global Ltd, for his 2012 season.

The four championship points Paddon earned for eighth place extend his unbeatable lead in the championship to 104 points. 

Swedish driver Patrik Flodin moves into second place with 59 points, one point in front of Polish driver Michal Kociuszko.

PHOTO  Honza Fronek

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