Pad­don back for fi­nal NZRC round

The Press - - Sport - Pit­stop Di­ary Ben­jamin Car­rell is the on­line ed­i­tor of talk­mo­tor­sport.co.nz

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.

GETTY IM­AGES

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.

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