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Paddon wins Southern Lights Rally title

Hayden Paddon has dominated the Southern Lights Rally not far from his Cromwell home
Hayden Paddon flies around the Southern Lights Rally winning all 10 stages for the title PHOTO: TAYB

Hayden Paddon and co-driver Jared Hudson have put on a clinical performance to win the Southern Lights Rally in the return of rallying to the Southland region.


Paddon who is based in Cromwell when he is in New Zealand dominated the 65-car field, winning all ten special stages and sealing victory by a margin of 3 minutes and 8.6 seconds.

In second placed were Auckland’s Ben Hunt and co-driver Tony Rawstorn, who consistently trailed Paddon with the second-fastest times on five of the event’s special stages in their Skoda Fabia Rally2.



Third place was New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) leading team of Robbie Stokes and Amy Stokes in a Ford Fiesta AP4. The Canterbury-based pair, who traded places with Hunt/Rawstorn midway through the day, finished 7.9 seconds behind.

Paddon remains in fourth place overall in the NZRC standings, having missed the season’s opening round in April.

Jack Hawkeswood holds third place, 20 points behind Hunt (83 points) and three points ahead of Paddon.


“It has been an incredible day. Right from the first stage on Friday night through the forest to the finish here at Teretonga, it’s been an amazing experience to be here. To win is really special as this is an event I’ve looked forward to returning to the calendar for many year," explained Paddon.


A huge thanks to everyone involved in making it all happen – the Rally Race Group organisers, car clubs, the volunteers out there, and the crowd here at Teretonga. It’s really awesome to see so many people here supporting the event," said Paddon.


Winter weather for the late-June event was expected to compound the challenge for competitors, organisers, and event volunteers. Instead, the mild, calm, and dry conditions delivered a welcome surprise, allowing fans and visitors to fully enjoy the Southland event.

Attention now turns to their next event – the fourth round of the NZRC and a return to the Manawatu for the Daybreaker Rally on 13-14 September.



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