After a successful learning year in 2006, the goal for 2007 was to show more speed and look towards outright victories. After more development and testing of the car during the off season, the team hit the ground running, with a fine 3rd overall at the opening round in Otago. It was a sign of bigger things to come, as they headed to the Asia Pacific round in Whangarei. This was a rally where everything clicked, and despite a bird’s best effort to go through the front window, Hayden and co-driver John steered their way to Hayden’s first rally victory. In doing so beating all the international teams home and becoming the youngest person to ever win a FIA Asia Pacific Rally. Hayden described the victory as totally out of the blue and it took some time to sink in. As championship leader going into the third round, in the Wairarapa, they had the honour of sweeping the road for the first time, and it turned out to be a steep learning curve. Progressively lifting their speed stage by stage in the slippery conditions, they ended the rally in 3rd.

Then, on the single leg event in Hawkes Bay, in wet conditions, Hayden struggled to adapt, but, after a couple of new stage records, he clawed his way back to 4th and into the championship lead again. The 5th round was the International Rally of New Zealand, New Zealand’s round of the World Rally Championship, where the team also had a wild card entry into the Production WRC. Having set the 5th fastest Group N time on the opening stage, against some of the world’s best production car drivers, they ground to a halt on the second stage with gearbox failure. After their previous great form, Hayden described being totally gutted, both for the NZ championship and in front of the world audience. They rejoined for day 2 to amass more points for their national campaign, but would go to Nelson 20 points adrift of the championship lead, with only 32 points up for grabs. The team did all they could, Hayden driving his heart out and winning all but one stage. A convincing rally win, but an agonising one point off the overall championship victory. Hayden did however wrap up the NZ Junior title for a second year.

To top the year off Hayden had another PWRC experience, this time as Team Jordan driver in the season ending WRC Wales Rally GB. Wanting to prove himself on the international scene, the rally got off to the worst possible start. After being in the top 5 in the early splits, they hit a culvert on the inside of a slow corner which broke the steering tie-rod and had to crawl through the stage with a wheel hanging off. Unfortunately they could not make roadside repairs, so their rally was short lived. They rejoined again for Day 2, only for the front subframe to collapse, ending their rally for good. Reflecting on a trying and devastating rally, Hayden described it as character building, though encouraging him to be back bigger and stronger next time.

European Champions!

In 2023, Hayden Paddon had an exceptional season, solidifying his status as one of rallying's premier talents. Paddon clinched the European Rally Championship (ERC) title, showcasing his prowess across diverse terrains and against fierce competition. His remarkable...

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Taking on the World – Kiwi Style

In 2022, Hayden Paddon, alongside co-driver John Kennard, had a standout season, highlighted by their victory in the FIA World Rally2 Championship category at the Repco Rally New Zealand. Driving a Hyundai i20 N Rally2, they secured a significant triumph, setting a...

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The new year got underway with similar goals to the previous year – to contest the full New Zealand Rally Championship and also the Australian rounds of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship if Covid travel restrictions allowed. Hayden and John were happy to earn their...

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2020 started with great positivity – a goal to win three rally championship titles. First was to be another New Zealand Rally Championship. Second was to add in enough Australian events to win the FIA Pacific Cup for the second consecutive year. Third was to also take...

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2019 heralded a new era for Paddon Rallysport with a renewed international focus from their new HQ at Highlands Motorsport Park in Central Otago, New Zealand. The team now enjoyed great testing facilities literally on their doorstep on the world-class racetrack. Early...

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