NZ Rally Championship leader Hayden Paddon has won Leg 1 of the Hawke's Bay Rally on six rainswept stages near Wairoa.
Hayden Paddon has consolidated his Vantage Aluminium Joinery New Zealand Rally Championship lead by winning Leg 1 of the Hawke’s Bay Rally on roads near Wairoa today.
The Paddon Direct Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 driver led all the way, winning five of the six special stages and never losing the lead.
His only real threat came from a charging Richard Mason (BNT Subaru Impreza WRX STi) who fought back from a slow start to close in on second-placed Chris West (Andrew Simms Evo 9), and overtake him on SS4.
Mason won that text, the only one Paddon didn’t, and pushed hard on SS5 to try to catch and pass the young South Canterbury driver.
On SS4 he had cut Paddon’s lead by 13 seconds and was roughly 14 behind.
But 15km from the end of SS5, the Subaru’s transmission failed and Mason was out of the rally. He expects to start Leg 2 tomorrow.
West came home second, 47.6s behind Paddon.
There was an Evo 9 clean sweep of the next three placings, Brett Martin leading home Dean Sumner (who placed second on SS6, 3,5s behind Paddon) and Stewart Taylor.
Emma Gilmour completed the top six in her Impreza.
Patrick Malley placed ninth overall and won the Ford Fiesta Challenge category, with 10th placed Robert Murray winning the Classic segment in his Mazda RX-7.
No Kiwi 2 front-wheel drive cars finished, which means Malley won the overall FWD category.
The rally started in drizzle and ran through progressively heavier rain in cold, single digit temperatures.
The winds that have battered the northern part of the North Island haven’t yet hit Hawke’s Bay though they’re expected tonight and into tomorrow.