After finishing off a successful New Zealand Rally Championship campaign, it is now back to home turf for the Paddon Direct rally team.
This weekends Godley Resort South Canterbury Rally takes host to the penultimate round of the Mainland Rally Series, and the final round of the New Zealand Rally Xtreme Series where a new champion will be crowned.
The event has attracted a top class entry of over 70 teams from all over the country to tackle eight fast smooth special stages totalling 220km in and around the Mackenzie district. Top seed Paddon is hoping to make up for last years disappointment on the event, and come away with a local victory. But the 19 year old is under no illusions and realizes that there is a steep challenge ahead to do so.
"It is fantastic to see such a quality field here, which is sure to treat all the local spectators. Obviously our goal is clear...win! It will not be easy however as any of the top 15 teams are capable of winning this event, so we have to be right on the ball from the word go."
A new and exciting addition to the team for their South Canterbury Rally campaign is the support from local Mitsubishi dealer, Caroline Motors who are joining the existing group of 'great' sponsors.
"We have had amazing support from all our sponsors this season which is reflected in our results. Caroline Motors have been very good to us in the past two rally seasons with supplying us parts quickly and efficiently and it is fantastic that they have now joined us on a higher level."
This is Paddon's 4th attempt at his local rally which has treated him well in the past. In only his second ever rally in 2002 he took class honours, and last year finished 4th overall after battling for the rally victory.
"I have always enjoyed the fast flowing nature of the roads that the McKenzie district has to offer, but this year all but one of the stages are new to me."
Despite this event being not being part of the New Zealand Rally championship, the team have still opted to keep the car in Group N trim so that they can further develop the car for next season.
"It will make it more difficult driving the Group N car against the more powerful Group A cars on these traditionally fast roads. But this is the best option for us, as I have learnt to drive the car in Group N and it will allow us to make changes to the car throughout the weekend."
The rally kicks off from the Godley Resort in Lake Tekapo at 7.30am this Saturday. Central Service park is located in the township of Fairlie. For rally maps visit Caroline Motors, Fourpeaks Suzuki or contact Hayden on 0273181748.