It has been quite a start to the year for New Zealand rally superstar Hayden Paddon. After a fantastic start to the New Zealand Rally Championship season with a comprehensive win in the 40th anniversary two day Otago Rally, Paddon then went on to seal his maiden World Rally Championship (WRC) victory in Argentina – a whirlwind start to a season that promises much.
Hyundai joins the rally party
Paddon and co-driver John Kennard, also from New Zealand are racing in the first-ever New Zealand developed Hyundai rally car which is part of a new partnership with Hyundai New Zealand. Here at GO Rentals, we are delighted and beaming with pride to be included as one of Hayden and Hyundai’s sponsors for the first two New Zealand Championship Rallies in 2016. Whilst our sponsorship doesn’t stretch to the WRC, we are pretty stoked about the awesome start that Hayden has made to the season and the first ever win for a Kiwi in the WRC.
One of the reasons GO Rentals were so keen to get involved with Hayden and the Hyundai partnership is the commitment of the project to working with students who get the opportunity to work in a Hyundai-backed mentoring programme called the Pinnacle Programme. This programme has already seen students join the team at Rally Otago and Whangarei, enjoying the opportunity to work alongside Paddon’s engineers.
New Zealand Rally Championship
There are a total of five rounds in the New Zealand Rally Championship for 2016 and the first two have been a huge success. After a dominating victory in the first race of the season in Otago, Hayden returned from his record-breaking victory in Argentina to compete in round two of the championship at Whangarei. Huge crowds turned out once again to show support for Paddon and Kennard but it wasn’t to be three wins in a row for the dynamic duo. Following driveshaft issues on the first day, they were always struggling to feature in the overall results however the guys came back strong to claim all six stage wins on day two.
Whilst Hayden is unable to commit to the remaining rounds of the New Zealand championships due to his travels with the WRC they are sure to attract big crowds as some of New Zealand’s other top rally drivers get the chance to battle it out for the championship.
World Rally Championship
Next stop for Paddon and Kennard is Portugal for the next round of the World Rally Championship which kicks off on the 19 May. It promises to be another huge event for the New Zealand based team and one where they look to build on their success in Argentina. There are a total of 14 WRC races this year and we are excited to see where Hayden can take the Hyundai and New Zealand rally.
Bringing the WRC back to New Zealand
One thing that is for sure is that Hayden’s success out on the ‘track’ is helping to raise the profile of rallying in New Zealand. A huge supporter of New Zealand’s bid to get a round of the WRC back to New Zealand, Paddon this week wrote an open letter to the WRC asking them to bring a stage of the WRC back to New Zealand. The crowds that have turned out so far for the New Zealand Rally Championship suggest that it is a sport back on the up in NZ. New Zealand hasn’t hosted a round of the WRC since 2012 when Sebastian Loeb took out the title and its return is long overdue.
There is certainly a lot of support behind the bid to get New Zealand back on the world rally stage and here at GO we are excited to be part of these exciting times through our sponsorship with Hayden and Hyundai.
We’re right behind the bid to get the World Rally Championship back to New Zealand – who’s with us?
See the GO Rentals sponsored Hyundai in action
Whilst there are no further New Zealand Rally Championship races for Hayden’s Hyundai i20, that doesn’t mean you can’t still see the car in action as well as getting up close and personal. The car was in action at the Targa Tour Rally in Rotorua last weekend so hopefully you managed to get out and check out the GO sponsored car in action.
The car will also be on display around the country at a number of events and this is your chance to take a closer look at the car that New Zealand’s most exciting rally star has been driving this year. Here are the dates and locations to take a sneaky peak:
Wellington – 28th May – On display at New Zealand Motorsport Awards, Wellington.
Hamilton – 15th – 18th June – National Fieldays – High profile display in the Hyundai Marquee. Mystery Creek, Hamilton.
Auckland – 16-17 July – On display at the CRC Speedshow 2016 at the ASB Showgrounds – find out more at https://www.speedshow.co.nz/
Various – Post Fieldays to end of July – National Dealer Network Tour – Display in Dealer Showrooms across the country – locations TBC.
Hyundai Cars at GO Rentals
Whilst we definitely don’t recommend taking our rental cars rally driving, we do have an awesome fleet of rental cars which are perfect for New Zealand’s roads. We are very pleased to include in our fleet two of Hyundai’s premium models – the Santa Fe and the Tucson. Both these vehicles offer GO Rentals customers all the room they need to bring the family or a bunch of mates away on an awesome New Zealand road trip.