The weekends Godley resort Rally of South Canterbury has once again proved a happy hunting ground for the Paddon Direct rally team, finishing 54 seconds behind Manurewa's Andrew Hawkeswood in 2nd after 220km of competitive stages.
The battle for the victory was close however, with the two drivers tied at the top of the leader board after 90km of special stages.
"I was surprised we were in that position, especially after the blast through stage one which was simply too fast for our car, or any rally car for that matter."
Over the next 6 stages, Hawkeswood then slowly started to pull out a lead, and Paddon went into the final stage 34 seconds adrift. Hayden described the final stage which was the reverse of stage one, the fastest stage he has ever driven on, completing the stage with an average speed of 138kmph over 37kms.
"It was a great day, and we are pleased with the result. After shakedown on Friday we thought we would be up against it to scratch into the top 3 with the quality of the field, the loose gravel and the fast roads. Our car certainly wasn't suited to the flat out style of stages, but where there were more technical parts the car seemed to perform very well. Also the support from local sponsors, Caroline Motors Mitsubishi, BNT and Paddon Direct help made this result possible."
The local event now brings the Paddon Direct team's season to a close.
They will now concentrate on putting plans into concrete next season, and then rebuilding the car before several test sessions.
"This weekend was a great way to finish off what has been a successful season for us. From here on in though, every step forward gets smaller and smaller as we get closer to the top, so there is a lot of work and development of both car and myself to do in the off season. We have had great support from our sponsors this season which would be great to continue again in 2007. I can't wait for Otago Rally in mid April, and I'm sure time will fly as we build up to it."
The team would like to thank all their loyal sponsors and Team Green supporters this season.
"The Team green supporters club concept has been successful this year. The members have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we have enjoyed having them as part of the team. We have also had a fantastic team that have put in 150% all season, and they give me the best possible car at each event."