Paddon back for final NZRC round
Despite World Rally Championship star Hayden Paddon having already sown up the NZ Rally Championship driver’s title, there is a very strong 74-car field that will compete in the New Zealand Raglan Rally of the Coast on Saturday.
Paddon is back home and will contest the last round of the NZRC along with some of the country’s best drivers.
The fight is still on for second with Nelson’s Ben Hunt (Subaru) currently in second place, but third placed Josh Marston (Holden Barina AP4) on 84 points is just a solitary point ahead of Aussie Nathan Quinn, with Matt Summerfield in his Subaru another point further back.
Quinn, the 2017 Australian rally champ, will drive his fifth different car from his five events in this year’s series. He has so far driven a Ford Fiesta R5, Ford Fiesta Proto, Mitsubishi Evo 8 and a Peugeot 208 Proto and this weekend will drive Ben Hunt’s ‘second car’, a Subaru Impreza WRX.
Also in the mix will be Dylan Turner (Audi AP4), Matt Summerfield (Mitsubishi Mirage), Josh Marston (Holden Barina AP4), Emma Gilmour (Suzuki Swift AP4), Phil Campbell (Ford Fiesta AP4) and Greg Murphy (Holden Barina AP4).
Three R5-spec cars from Europe, are entered. Raana Horan will again run his recently purchased Skoda Fabia, the sister car of which has been sent to New Zealand from Australia and will be driven by Kingsley Jones.
Former New Zealand champion, Neil Allport, will take the wheel of his personally owned Ford Fiesta R5 which has recently been driven by Max Bayley.
Endurance finale in Timaru Timaru hosts the final round of the South Island Endurance Series on Saturday where both One and Three Hour titles will be decided. Auckland’s Neil Foster (Audi R8) has won the first two Three-Hour races along with codriver Jonny Reid.
However, with the Australian GT Series also taking place at Hampton Downs in the North Island this weekend, several drivers and cars will be absent from the Timaru event, including Reid. Taking his place will be the very quick Gene Rollinson.
Also absent will be Hampton Downs circuit owner Tony Quinn (Aston Martin). However, there is much to play for with the George McFarlane/Jack Milligan Porsche 997 GT3 R and the Ben Byers/Jaxon Evans Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3 both tied for second overall.
In the One Hour series, Chris Henderson currently leads in his very quick Toyota AE86 V8, ahead of series rookie Rowan Shepherd (Porsche 997 Cup).
This is a series where you simply must finish. With 95 points still up for grabs at Levels there are still 11 cars than could claim the overall series glory. Armstrong in F3 showdown Christchurch teenager Marcus Armstrong is looking to secure runner up position in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at the final round this weekend in Germany.
Hockenheim host the final three races and with a maximum of 75-points on offer. Armstrong has a mathematical but difficult chance of winning the overall title. His team mate Mick Schumacher, son of seven-times world F1 championship Michael Schumacher, has won the last 5/6 races and already has one hand on the trophy.
Armstrong is currently in third place, 69-points behind Schumacher but just 20-points behind rival Daniel Ticktum.
Haden Paddon, pictured driving in Wales last weekend will return from the Rally of Great Britain to the final round of the New Zealand championship around Raglan this weekend.