Kiwi rally stars Hayden Paddon and John Kennard are the first competitors to submit their entry for Brother Rally New Zealand which runs from 21 to 24 June.
Having won the FIA Production World Rally Championship last year, Paddon and Kennard have stepped up another level to contest the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship this year. Using a Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car on their home event for the first time, the popular New Zealanders will be looking for a SWRC category win at Brother Rally New Zealand.
The event is also the seventh round of the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship, the fifth round of the FIA Production World Rally Championship and the fourth round of the 2012 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, powered by Brother.
Speaking from his hometown in Geraldine after competing in Europe for the past three months, Paddon says he’s really looking forward to competing at home again.
“Personally, I’ve been looking forward to a New Zealand WRC round for the past two years, as soon as we crossed the finish ramp at the top New Zealand for the 2010 edition of Rally New Zealand!” says Paddon who recently turned 25.
“It’s going to be great to have the Skoda here – it’s a fantastic car – and John and I are looking forward to enjoying a lot of support from Kiwi fans on the side of the rally route.”
Paddon says the ASM Motorsport-prepared Skoda will arrive from the team’s Spanish base about ten days before Brother Rally New Zealand starts on 21 June. “We have some sponsor and other promotional activities to do before we commence reconnaissance for two-and-a-half days before the rally starts.”
At their most recent SWRC event, Vodafone Rally de Portugal, at the beginning of April, Paddon and Kennard recovered from mechanical issues to take an extraordinary win which moved them into second place on the SWRC leader-board. The Kiwis will be gunning to take the SWRC championship lead at Brother Rally New Zealand.
The 42nd running of Rally New Zealand – with new naming rights’ sponsor Brother – is based in Auckland with the service park and event headquarters situated in and around the Viaduct Events Centre in Wynyard Quarter on the waterfront. Friday’s route takes competitors to Waikato and the iconic Whaanga Coast stage south of Raglan and, on Saturday, they head north to Whangarei and Kaipara. Sunday, the final day, sees competitors tackle new special stages in and around Auckland out as far as Puhoi and Kaukapakapa. News and information is updated on a regular basis on the event website, www.rallynz.org.nz , and the event’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.