New Zealand Rally Championship points leader Hayden Paddon says this weekend’s World Championship Rally of New Zealand is the most important event in his career to date.
The young Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8 driver is hoping to challenge for a top spot both in the Production World Rally Championship (PWRC) and New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) sections.
Paddon has a PWRC wild card entry, so will start among the international cars and run as part of the PWRC championship.
“It’s a very exciting prospect to be part of the world circut,” he said this week. “But I can assure you that we’re not here to make up the numbers. I’m determined to put in a good performance, as a good result in front of the world teams could help my aspirations of driving overseas.”
He’s also aiming to extend his NZ championship lead, with just one round remaining after Rally NZ.
“It’s our first time on this event, so I’m not 100 per cent sure what condition the roads are going to be in by the time we get to them, but I can be sure that gravel won’t be a problem. So we’ll go back to a base car set-up similar to the start of the year, which I’m confident will produce a good fast package.
“We have an excellent car on swept roads (the WRC cars will clear the roads of loose gravel, or sweep them in rally jargon).
“I’ve been driving well within my comfort levels all year, so there’s no better time than now to start pushing. Obviously it will depend on how I am feeling behind the wheel and the conditions but I am planning at throwing the kitchen sink at it.”