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Tue, 26 Mar 2019 - Record-breaking entries for 2019 Otago Rally 


A record-breaking 132 cars will start next month's Otago Rally, beating the previous highest entry number set in 2017.

Headed by former Hyundai WRC star, Hayden Paddon, the rally is the opening round of the New Zealand and Asia Pacific Rally Championships, and incorporates the International Otago Classic Rally, and an Allcomers division.

The field includes 55 competitors registered for the national championship, 37 in the classic rally field, and 15 in the fast-growing 4WD classic field.

There are eight different countries represented among the competitors. Sixteen Australians are heading across the Tasman, with crews also coming from Japan, New Caledonia, Phillipines, Norway, Ireland, Germany, and even an expat Kiwi from Burkina Faso.

Ford is the most popular make of car, with 33 entries - most of them Escorts and Fiestas - followed by Toyota on 25, Mitsubishi on 19, and Subaru with 18.

With Hayden Paddon not registering for New Zealand Rally Championship points, it will be a battle between ex-champions David Holder (Holden Barina AP4), Andrew Hawkeswood (Mazda 2 AP4) and Ben Hunt (Subaru WRX), along with Australian hot-shot Brendan Reeves in a Ford Fiesta AP4.

Dylan Turner returns to the fray in his Audi AP4, while Matt Summerfield, Emma Gilmour (Suzuki), Josh Marston (Barina) and Raana Horan (Skoda Fabia R5) will also be in the mix.

The Classic Rally field sees the return of Norway's Mads Ostberg in a Ford Escort RS1800, who will be pushing hard to overcome the mechanical problems that cost him victory in 2018.

Last year's winner, Regan Ross, will be hoping to go back-to-back, but will come under strong pressure from a host of other Escorts, including Derek Ayson, Jeff Judd and Stewart Reid.

Christchurch's Deane Buist looks like the best hope for a non-Escort victory in his VW Golf GTi.

"We are thrilled with the number and quality of entries we have received this year," Rally Manager, Norman Oakley, said.

"The popularity of the Otago Rally continues to grow, but higher entry numbers also presents challenges for the organising team.

"This year's route contains many of the favourite event stages as Kuri Bush, McIntosh Road, Waipori Gorge and Whare Flat, while also incorporating stages that haven't been used in the event for many years.

"It's a great mix of new and old."

Wed, 13 Mar 2019 - Hyundai NZ extends partnership with Paddon and confirms 2019 calendar

Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon has confirmed a new contract with Hyundai New Zealand, with the New Zealand-owned company increasing their support of both Paddon personally and Paddon Rallysport as they undertake a swathe of new projects.

Paddon will continue to represent the Hyundai brand with all his and the team’s motorsport endeavours, as he dives into some exciting and challenging projects – national and international – with the now six-strong Paddon Rallysport crew based in their new facility at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell.

A busy 2019 driving programme will include three New Zealand events – the team will enter the New Zealand-built Hyundai i20 AP4+ car in the new format FIA Asia Pacific Championship category at Rally Otago in April and May’s International Rally of Whangarei, followed by Paddon’s ‘home’ event, the South Canterbury Rally in June. Blenheim-based John Kennard will co-drive for Paddon at Rally Otago with the co-driver for future events still to be announced.

Paddon then joins the new Global Rallycross series in Europe, the first round taking place in late June. Back in New Zealand, the team will convert the Hyundai into its 800bhp hillclimb spec to tackle the Ashley Forest Rallysprint in September plus some other iconic local rallysprints. Other events yet to be confirmed but are on the radar are San Marino’s Rally Legend (October) and some events in Australia.

“I’m incredibly proud to be part of the Hyundai New Zealand family,” says Paddon. “Without the Hyundai New Zealand team, we would never have made it into the World Rally Championship initially and then achieved what we have done so far.”

Paddon describes the partnership with Hyundai New Zealand, first established in 2014, as ‘more like family than strictly corporate’, and pays credit to the company’s management for the pivotal role they have played in his career to date.

“That well-established partnership offers a platform for us to continue to build on long term,” says Paddon. “It’s fair to say, that between Paddon Rallysport and Hyundai New Zealand, we have some big ambitions! Short term that involves a heavier motorsport presence here in New Zealand, but longer term, we are working together for an international campaign run by a 100 per cent Kiwi team.”

Hyundai New Zealand General Manager, Andy Sinclair says: “Hayden is an exceptional individual with business nous and sporting prowess. We, along with our nationwide dealer network, have been proud to support Hayden’s national and international endeavours over the last four years. Our commitment to Hayden and his team is unquestionable and we are thoroughly excited about the busy year ahead and our collective aspirations.”

Paddon has also recently renewed partnerships with long-term supporters Z Energy, Pak’nSave and Winmax Brakes. Paddon says he continues to seek options to contest future World Rally Championship events in either a WRC or an R5-spec car.

“While we would obviously still like to be in the WRC, that was a decision that was outside our control,” Paddon says. “The team at Hyundai New Zealand have been nothing but supportive and that’s something I will never turn my back on.”

“We have certainly not given up on the ultimate goal of being back in the WRC. This is something that Hyundai New Zealand and our other valued partners Z Energy, Pak’nSave and Winmax Brakes all remain committed to. When I had to call them the night after receiving the news of no WRC contract for 2019 late last year, I was amazed by the response from all our partners: that they will continue to back and support us. That is a sign of true dedication and belief in what we are all working towards – business and sporting.”

Sinclair adds: “We were disappointed for Hayden when he did not secure a contract with Hyundai Motorsport, however he is talented and driven and has a long future in motorsport ahead of him.”

Paddon is making sure he’s ready to compete at the highest level, whenever he gets the opportunity. “Physical fitness and mental training, driving practice during our 2019 season and pace notes are all aspects of my sport that I continue to work on and improve, so if there is a chance to compete in WRC events, we will prove once and for all that we do belong there.”

Keep up with news from Hayden Paddon and Paddon Rallysport by joining Paddon’s Pack at or follow them on social media:,

Wed, 13 Mar 2019 - Sheehan ready for full on attack in 2019

Queenstown’s Mike Sheehan is counting down the days as he prepares for his first full season in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, kicking off with the Otago Rally based around Dunedin on April 13-14.

This season Sheehan will chase the New Zealand Two-wheel drive class for front-wheel drive cars up to two-litres driving the Truck Moves Ford Fiesta R2, one of three identical versions of the car in the class. This season Sheehan focuses purely on the national series, having twice won his class in the Mainland Series over the past two seasons.

Sheehan will continue working with experienced co-driver Glenn Goldring, a relationship that started in the second half of the 2018 season and one that Sheehan says is invaluable as he continues to develop in rallying.

With the in-car team sorted, Sheehan and his loyal service crew have been working hard to strip and rebuild the car to ensure Sheehan can finish each of the six rounds.

“This year we have one goal, to win the New Zealand Two-wheel drive class,” says Sheehan. “We’ve worked really hard over the off-season, not just on the car, but also with Goldie to make sure that we do the best job we can. If we can do that, I’m confident we’ll be well in contention come the final round.”

Sheehan competed in four of the six rounds last year, missing the South Canterbury Rally after last minute car problems and also the Whangarei rally, where David Holder used the Truck Moves Ford Fiesta R2 to gain extra mileage for his Junior World Rally Championship campaign.

The Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship starts with the Otago Rally based in Dunedin on April 12-14, before travelling north to the International Rally of Whangarei on May 3-5. Following that, the series returns to the South Island for the Canterbury Rally (Christchurch, June 2) and South Canterbury Rally (Timaru, June 22) and then returns to the North Island for Rally Coromandel (Whitianga, August 16) and Rally Waitomo (Hamilton, October 19).

Fri, 8 Mar 2019 - Press release from Leon Styles and Marty Stevenson

With the upcoming 2019 NZRC season fast approaching, Leon Styles from Tauranga will be starting the season with a new navigator.

Marty Stevenson having moved to the Tauranga area just over two years ago is looking forward to an exciting sideways season sitting next to Leon.

Marty originally from Nelson, is well known to the local South Island rally scene, having sat beside Paul Nicol in his EVO 4 for the first Rally Extreme Championship in which he won the Co-Drivers Championship, he then backed this up a few years’ latter sitting next to Jeff Judd in his Subaru Impreza.

Leon and Marty are looking forward to the ahead in the BOP Retaining sponsored EVO 9 and facing the challenges it brings head on and a little sideways.

Not only will Leon and Marty be out to compete and have fun along the way, a big focus for the pair will be to promote the work Leon does with Suicide Awareness through “Suicide is not painless, lets talk about it”

Thu, 7 Mar 2019 - Omega Rental Cars supporting Rally New Zealand

Recognised as one of the largest and most trusted independent rental car companies in New Zealand, Omega Rental Cars has always had a connection to motorsport. Owners Andrew Brown & Simon Sceats first formed the company in 1993 after purchasing what was then a very small rental car business from Scott Dixon’s father, who needed more time and money to dedicate to his son’s burgeoning motor racing career. Sceats has earned a number of prestigious titles himself, including the NZ Production Car Championship in 2007/2008 and again in 2010/2011.

‘We have always been interested in supporting the local motorsport community, and Rally New Zealand is a great partner for us, as the rally community travel all around the country and often need to pick up a rental car when they land in the North or South Island’ says Sceats.

New Zealand Rally championship Coordinator Simon Bell says ‘We are thrilled to have Omega Rental Cars onboard as a partner for the 2019 rally season. The support they provide us will ensure that we have vehicles for key volunteers and officials to get to, and around, events’.

Omega Rental Cars has branches across New Zealand, including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, Nelson, Picton and Blenheim. Offering an up front and honest reliable car rental service, affordable rental car rates and a modern fleet of vehicles, they are now one of the largest and most trusted independent rental car companies in New Zealand.

Omega Rental cars will be offering the rally community special rates for 2019, which is a great bonus for teams and volunteers. ‘We see that there is a great tie in to the New Zealand Rally Championship rounds and the Omega branch locations – teams or officials can fly from one island to the other, pick up a car for a discounted rate in say Auckland or Christchurch and then drive on to the rounds’ says Bell. ‘The offer will be available not just on rally trips, but for holidays or business trips as well’ Sceats adds.

The special offer is available now at (note: rentals are not available for use by teams for Recce) , and other opportunities will be explored throughout 2019. To book a car with Omega Rental Cars with a 10% discount, go to

Fri, 1 Mar 2019 - ENEOS supporting the 2019 International Rally of Whangarei

Rally New Zealand is excited to announce that ENEOS will again feature as the naming rights sponsor of the 2019 ENEOS International Rally of Whangarei.

The announcement sees a continuation of the relationship that began at the same event in 2018 and ENEOS is delighted to continue working with Rally New Zealand in 2019 to further support the sport of rallying in New Zealand.

The ENEOS International Rally of Whangarei is one of New Zealand’s largest international rallies and the 2019 edition seems set to grow on recent years, with Irish internet sensation Frank Kelly already confirmed driving his ‘Baby Blue’ Ford Escort, while several other high-profile teams have expressed their intent to compete on the infamous gravel roads in the region.

ENEOS International Rally of Whangarei chairman Willard Martin is excited to see what the partnership will bring in 2019.

“ENEOS first supported the ENEOS International Rally of Whangarei in 2018. It is great to see that they have come onboard again and are keen to look at new and exciting opportunities through the rally. The opportunity for livestreaming the rally to ENEOS customers worldwide is fantastic and will further strengthen the high-performance bond between ENEOS and the sport of rallying,” he says.

ENEOS New Zealand Manager Shingo Hoshino says “ENEOS is proud to be the title sponsor of the International Rally of Whangarei, part of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship. Rally racing showcases many qualities including skill, endurance, technology and passion. ENEOS believes in these qualities as well and incorporates them into our products and services. We are delighted to have this opportunity to contribute to the success of the International Rally of Whangarei and its fans.”

With decades of experience in joint engineering and research with all major Japanese automotive makers, ENEOS provides the highest quality lubricants in the marketplace. ENEOS products are from JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation, the No.1 Oil Company in Japan. Whether it is optimal performance protection under the most extreme temperature variations to superior fuel economy for everyday commuting, ENEOS offers a wide range of products that caters to all types of operating needs.

The ENEOS International Rally of Whangarei runs from 3 – 5 May. The event represents the second round of both the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship and is based in Whangarei with stages to the north and south of the city.

Tue, 19 Feb 2019 - Rally New Zealand announces co-driver academy class of 2019

Rally New Zealand are proud to announce the six co-drivers who have been selected to participate in the 2019 Rally New Zealand Co-driver Academy, to be held in Auckland on April 5-7. This year the Academy is being run pre season to allow entrants to apply their knowledge for a full season.

2019 marks the third occasion that Rally New Zealand has run the academy which sees co-drivers train with experienced professionals Alex and Rhianon Gelsomino on all aspects of the co-driving role. The pair have forged careers competing all around the world and have included victories in rounds of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship. In addition to the expert training provided by Alex and Rhianon the participants also receive instruction and advice from a number of other experienced local rally competitors and officials as part of the three-day programme.

“We’re very excited to announce this year’s successful applicants. This year’s successful applicants have a broad range of experience and we’ve got a number of younger co-drivers with very strong goals moving forward which is great to see. We know that this group will benefit immensely from training with Alex and Rhianon,” said Paul Mallard, chairman Rally New Zealand.

Rally New Zealand has a proud history of supporting the development of competitors in rallying and we look forward to seeing the progression of this group following in the footsteps of several other competitors who have had support from Rally New Zealand in the past. These include the likes of Ben Hunt who won the first Rally New Zealand Rising Stars Scholarship and has gone on to win several classes in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship culminating in the overall championship in 2015. Supporting the development of the sport at its highest level is something that we feel strongly about, and this means supporting current top-level competitors as well as those who have a clear ambition and plan to achieve this level.”

The six successful applicants are:

Jared Hudson – Christchurch – Finished second in the NZRC Two-wheel drive class in 2018, stepping up to the Gull Rally Challenge Four-wheel drive class in 2019. Jared follows his sister Amy through the co-driver academy who was in the 2018 intake.

Alex Parkin – Auckland – Co-drove with Jack Hawkeswood in the NZRC Two-wheel drive class in 2018, including a podium finish. The pair will step up to the outright four-wheel drive class in 2019 driving an AP4 Mazda 2.

Michele Brunt – Warkworth – Long-time co-driver with names including Stephen Barker and Rod Millen, also a long-time Clerk of the Course and event organiser. Preparing for a 2019 Gull Rally Challenge campaign with Justin Glavish.

Brianna Little – Auckland – Has co-driven for multiple experienced drivers in rallies and testing. The daughter of prominent former competitor and current car preparation expert Chris “Choice” Little, she is looking to move up to the NZRC in 2019.

Nathan Pilcher – Auckland – Currently co-driving with Andy Gillies in the Gull Rally Challenge two-wheel drive class following success competing as a driver in circuit racing as well as rallying.

Zoe Jones – Auckland – Currently co-driving with Amy Keighley in the NZRC Two-wheel drive class. One of three rally competitors in the Thames Valley based Jones family.

“Unfortunately as always there were more applicants than spaces available, and we hope to see those that missed out this time work with the feedback provided and to see them apply again in the future,” This year, as was the case last year, we have some successful applicants who had previously applied and missed out, this reinforces the dedication needed to succeed in the sport,” adds Mallard.

The 2019 Rally New Zealand Co-drivers Academy takes place in Auckland from April 5-7. The six attendees will receive professional training in all aspects of the co-driver’s role including practical pace note writing exercises, event planning, fitness training and media promotional activities.

Fri, 15 Feb 2019 - Paddon Rallysport sets up new base at Highlands Motorsport Park

This year brings a new era for Paddon Rallysport as the team behind Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon embarks on fresh plans with an international focus from their new base at Highlands Motorsport Park in Central Otago, New Zealand.

The first step has been for the team to lease a state-of-the-art workshop at Highlands, right near the pit straight of the world-class racing circuit. The 500 sq. m workshop’s location means Paddon Rallysport has great testing facilities literally on their doorstep in one of the most visually-spectacular regions of the world.

“Paddon Rallysport has been in operation for 12 years since we started our first full New Zealand Rally Championship campaign,” says Paddon. “The move to our new facilities at Highlands signals a massive step forward for the company as we embark on some new projects and new objectives. The modern facilities here mean we have a fantastic place to base our team for the future and give us great opportunities to develop and expand in the coming years – eventually with a goal to take our Kiwi team international.”

Josie Spillane, Highlands’ Chief Operating Officer, is equally pleased to have the high-profile Kiwi team onsite. “We are incredibly excited to welcome Paddon Rallysport to Highlands. It’s yet further acknowledgement that what we’ve created here is very special. As the technology makes the global economy ever more accessible, you can work virtually anywhere in the world now, so why wouldn’t you choose Central Otago and Highlands?

“Hayden has got some very exciting plans, and we are keen to do what we can to help realise his vision. We love getting behind people who aren’t afraid to put in the hard yards, take a risk and use the infamous Kiwi #8 wire mentality to get things done.

“Paddon Rallysport is now an anchor tenant in our Highlands innovation and technology park, and we look forward to beginning yet another chapter of Highlands’ legacy with him and his team.”

Paddon Rallysport continues with a domestic competition programme this year – with the exact events being contested in New Zealand with the Hyundai i20 AP4 car being confirmed in coming weeks.

However, their main focus will be new projects and new technology being developed with key commercial partners. To help achieve these goals, five or more personnel will be working full-time for the team, which is also launching a new division called On-Track Racing to provide service and repairs for the competition cars used by Highlands Motorsport Park members.

“My life always has and always will be devoted to rallying,” says Paddon. “Our new venture is a way to continue that, while also taking us in some new exciting directions. We have some big ambitions and we have some good people involved in these projects who bring the same passion and vision. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in the next few years, so watch this space!”

From a professional point of view, Paddon has recently announced he’ll contest the inaugural season of the Global Rallycross Europe Championship which commences in June. He is working on other options to compete in Europe and hopes to announce more about these possibilities within the next month.

More information about Paddon Rallysport can be found on their Facebook page: or by emailing ENDS/

Recent Results
1New ZealandBrad Harris54:59.0
2New ZealandGaret Thomas+1:33.7
3New ZealandJohn Giltrap+1:34.7
4New ZealandRegan Ross+2:16.2
5New ZealandRobert McCallum+2:21.3
6New ZealandMatt Wright+2:31.4
7New ZealandGraham Ferguson+2:35.3
8New ZealandSean Haggarty+2:38.0
9New ZealandDavid Gee+3:17.6
10New ZealandPeter Scharmach+3:46.4
11New ZealandJeff Judd+4:21.0
12New ZealandDavid Quantock+5:51.2
13New ZealandMatt Summerfield+5:54.2
14New ZealandDeane Buist+11:02.4
1AustraliaGlen Raymond1:48:21.0
2AustraliaTristan Kent+2:32.0
3AustraliaRichard Shimmon+5:03.0
4AustraliaTony Sullens+5:30.0
5AustraliaAndrew Penny+5:32.0
6AustraliaIvan Regester+5:57.0
7AustraliaWayne Stewart+8:16.0
8AustraliaJustin Walker+10:06.0
9AustraliaLuke Sytema+11:37.0
10AustraliaIan Martin+14:37.0
2019 Points
1EstoniaOtt TÄNAK42
2BelgiumThierry NEUVILLE40
3FranceSébastien OGIER31
4United KingdomKris MEEKE21
5FinlandEsapekka LAPPI19
6FranceSébastien LOEB18
7United KingdomElfyn EVANS13
8NorwayAndreas MIKKELSEN12
9FinlandJari-Matti LATVALA10
10United KingdomGus GREENSMITH6
11FranceYoann BONATO4
12FranceStéphane SARRAZIN2
13FranceAdrien FOURMAUX1
13FinlandTeemu SUNINEN1
1AustraliaGlen Raymond50
2AustraliaTristan Kent44
3AustraliaRichard Shimmon37
4AustraliaIvan Regester35
5AustraliaAndrew Penny34
5AustraliaTony Sullens34
7AustraliaWayne Stewart27
8AustraliaJustin Walker22
9AustraliaBrian Semmens20
9AustraliaTom Clarke20
11AustraliaLuke Sytema19
11AustraliaWarren Lee19
13AustraliaMichael Heuchan16
14AustraliaMichael South15
14AustraliaBethany Cullen15
16AustraliaPeter Dimmock14
16AustraliaBrad Till14
18AustraliaIan Martin13
18AustraliaThomas Dermondy13
20AustraliaRoss Stapleton9
1AustraliaShane Clarke44
2AustraliaMark Fitton38
3AustraliaDarren Mather36
4AustraliaJonah Summersell32
5AustraliaNigel Bland30
6AustraliaMichael South25
7AustraliaMichael Stewart22
7AustraliaDaniel Maurer22
9AustraliaNathan Quinn20
10AustraliaAaron Mowett18
11AustraliaTreise Mcllhatton16
11AustraliaBruce Clark16
13AustraliaPeter Summersell13
14AustraliaVeronica Stack12
1AustraliaBrian Semmens44
2AustraliaLuke Sytema43
3AustraliaPeter Dimmock40
4AustraliaPeter Vlandis36
5AustraliaBruce Garland35
6AustraliaDavid Officer31
7AustraliaRobert Gorst30
8AustraliaGraham Wallis29
9AustraliaPatrick Cole26
10AustraliaThomas Dermondy25
11AustraliaJake Bramble19
1New ZealandBrad Harris30
2New ZealandGaret Thomas26
3New ZealandJohn Giltrap23
4New ZealandRegan Ross20
5New ZealandMatt Wright18
6New ZealandSean Haggarty17
7New ZealandDavid Gee16
8New ZealandJeff Judd15
9New ZealandJonty Brenssell14
10New ZealandGarry Cliff13
11New ZealandAshton Wood12
12New ZealandRobbie Stokes11
13New ZealandHugh Owen10
14New ZealandMark Parsons9
15New ZealandDavid Quantock8
16New ZealandMatt Summerfield7
17New ZealandBrian Green6
18New ZealandKevin Lynch5
19New ZealandNick Marston4
20New ZealandRiley McCallum3