Pe­den gets call-up to re­place Ken­nard

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - WHAT’S ON -

Kiwi rally ace Hay­den Pad­don will be the star at­trac­tion in Whangarei this week­end but the man sit­ting next to him will be the one un­der the mi­cro­scope.

Mal­colm Pe­den might be the envy of his mates but his ca­reer high­light mo­ment will come with plenty of pres­sure.

Pe­den, of Cam­bridge, will step in as Pad­don’s co-driver for the In­ter­na­tional Rally of Whangarei due to reg­u­lar Blen­heim co-driver John Ken­nard re­cu­per­at­ing from re­cent hip surgery and Pad­don’s World Rally Cham­pi­onship (WRC) copi­lot Seb Marshall not be­ing avail­able.

Pe­den, 44, has been around the sport for 25 plus years with plenty of co-driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence but con­cedes jump­ing in with Pad­don is another level.

‘‘It’s like a Su­per­cars team say­ing you’ve been go­ing OK in go-karts why don’t you come and have a go in Su­per­cars. It’s just un­heard of,’’ Pedan said.

‘‘It’s def­i­nitely not just another event. It’s amas­sive step up and I know there’s a lot of ex­pec­ta­tion.’’

But Pe­den has the ex­pe­ri­ence to over­come the chal­lenge.

‘‘I’m try­ing not to put pres­sure on my­self be­cause you have to go in re­laxed. You will al­ways do a bet­ter job if you’re re­laxed.’’

Pad­don, who was keen to of­fer the op­por­tu­nity to a New Zealand-based co-driver, put the word out via email and Pe­den jumped at what he de­scribed as a ‘‘once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity’’.

Pad­don con­firmed in a state­ment that he had re­ceived hun­dreds of ap­pli­ca­tions from all around the world.

‘‘Key to us was the chance to work with some­one who had solid ex­pe­ri­ence but was still try­ing to de­velop their ca­reer.

‘‘Sev­eral very good peo­ple ap­proached us, but we are con­fi­dent Mal­colm will do a good job and, most im­por­tantly, en­joy it.’’

Pad­don and Pe­den have known each other for a long time.

‘‘For him to pick some­one like me is huge. It doesn’t get much bet­ter than this,’’ Pe­den said.

‘‘He didn’t have to do it. He could have gone and got some­one from over­seas.’’

Pad­don, who is rac­ing an ab­bre­vi­ated 2018 WRC cam­paign, is chas­ing the 2018 New Zealand Rally Cham­pi­onship crown in his Hyundai i20 AP4+.

He will con­test five rounds in amongst his WRC com­mit­ments.

At the com­ple­tion of the 2017 WRC sea­son, Hyundai Mo­tor­sport an­nounced Pad­don would be shar­ing a car in 2018 and would com­pete in just seven of the 13 rounds.

Pe­den said it was sur­real when Pad­don first in­formed him the job was his but the enor­mity of the task soon set in.

Just days after he was told he had the job, Pe­den flew to Blen­heim to meet with Ken­nard and pick his brains for ev­ery pos­si­ble piece of in­for­ma­tion be­fore he went in for hip surgery.

Pe­den, who was a mem­ber of the in­au­gu­ral Rally New Zealand co-driv­ers’ Academy in 2017, watched in-car footage of Ken­nard and Pad­don at work and went through pace notes that the pair had pre­vi­ously used.

He and Ken­nard have been in al­most daily con­tact since.

Pe­den has read pace notes for the likes of An­drew Hawkeswood, Phil Camp­bell and Alex Kelsey.

He has been in the na­tional cham­pi­onship on and off for most of the last decade.

He was meant to co-drive for Camp­bell in Whangarei but his new car is not yet ready to hit the roads.

Pe­den also has brief over­seas ex­pe­ri­ence in New Cale­do­nia and Queens­land.

The In­ter­na­tional Rally of Whangarei serves as the sec­ond round of the Brian Green Prop­erty Group New Zealand Rally Cham­pi­onship (NZRC).

Pad­don, who flies to Europe on Mon­day to un­der­take prepa­ra­tions for the Rally Por­tu­gal that be­gins on May 17, is fresh from clean sweep­ing the open­ing round of the na­tional cham­pi­onship – Rally Otago – with vic­to­ries in all 17 spe­cial stages to win by a colossal mar­gin of 8 min­utes 27.7 sec­onds.

GE­OFF RIDDER

Hay­den Pad­don and John Ken­nard won ev­ery stage of Rally Otago in the Hyundai i20 AP4+ last month.

Mal­com Pe­den

GE­OFF RIDDER

Hip surgery has ruled John Ken­nard out of the In­ter­na­tional Rally of Whangarei.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.