Rally of Whangarei

Chris Atkinson beats off Paddon for Rally of Whangarei victory

Australian Chris Atkinson has become the first international driver to win the Rally of Whangarei, taking victory in the two-day event over the weekend. Atkinson took the win, finishing just 12.4 seconds quicker than Kiwi race ace Hayden Paddon, with Masterton’s Richard Mason finishing third overall.

Having won the Whangarei event three times since it began in 2007, Paddon was the odds-on favourite to take another victory on the roads around Kaipara and Whangarei, but it wasn’t to be for the driver from Geraldine.

After 301.9 muddy kilometres of competition, both outright and Asia Pacific Rally Championship honours went to Atkinson as he secured his third APRC event win this season in the distinctive yellow Proton Satria Neo S2000. Adding to a successful weekend for the 30-year-old were maximum APRC points to further extend his lead in the 2011 APRC series with two rounds to go.

While Paddon piloted his CR Properties/Placemakers Subaru STI to collect maximum points in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship standings, Mason maintained his lead in New Zealand’s top tier rally competition. At the same Mason earned APRC team trophy points for the SouEast Motor Kumho Team which had entered three cars. Read the rest of this entry »

Paddon chasing fourth victory in Rally of Whangarei

New Zealand’s top rally driving team, Hayden Paddon and c0-driver John Kennard, are heading into this weekend’s Rally of Whangarei with one goal – to take top honours for the fourth time.

Paddon, from Geraldine, and Kennard, from Blenheim, have already won two Production World Rally Championship events in Portugal and Argentina this year and while the Whangarei event is a step down, the pair still faces a tough challenge to secure victory.

They are one of 76 crews entered for the two-day event, which features the largest Asia Pacific Rally Championship field ever seen in Whangarei including current APRC points’ leader and former World Rally Championship driver Chris Atkinson in the ever-improving Proton Satria Neo S2000. Paddon can also expect tough competition from Atkinson’s Proton team-mate Alister McRae and Team MRF Mitsubishi drivers Katsu Taguchi, from Japan, and Gaurav Gill, from India.

“This will be the most competitive year here, with a lot of APRC teams plus our Kiwi competitors to consider,” says 24-year-old Paddon who won Rally Whangarei in 2007, 2009 and 2010. “The weather in July can also play a big part, but I’m feeling good and also feel we have made some more good improvements with the car.” Read the rest of this entry »

Multiple spectator points set up for Rally of Whangarei

Multiple spectator viewing points have been set up to watch New Zealand’s best rally drivers take on the top teams in the Asia Pacific region during next weekend’s (15 to 17 Jul) International Rally of Whangarei.

The event is the fourth rounds of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) and, for Clubmans category competitors, it also counts as a round of the Top Half Rally Series.

With 76 teams from nine different countries competing, the calibre of competition will be very high for a local rally. The Whangarei event’s sporting manager Willard Martin, has labelled a number of the junctions and intersections as excellent spectator vantage points.

“With such a strong field, this year’s rally will be particularly good event to watch, so we have a number of key vantage points including prime spectator locations that provide catering, results information and toilet facilities,” says Martin.

“Along with three-time winner Hayden Paddon from Geraldine, who has been doing exceptionally well overseas and currently leads the Production World Rally Championship, former World Rally Championship drivers Alister McRae and Chris Atkinson are two other drivers who will be doing everything they can to win here.” Read the rest of this entry »

Ben Jagger wins wildcard entry into APRC Rally of Whangarei

Whangarei Heads dairy farmer Ben Jagger is set to be a leading local competitor for the upcoming International Rally of Whangarei. The event, will run from 15 to 17 July and counts as the fourth rounds of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC). The rally will cover 301.9km of competitive stages on gravel roads in the Kaipara and Whangarei districts.

Jagger and co-driver Ben Hawkins will line up among the 22 APRC-registered competitors having secured, for the second time, one of the coveted ‘wildcard’ APRC entries. This means the pair starts ahead of their New Zealand championship rivals, and potentially enjoy better road conditions afforded by starting further up the running order.

Driving the Seed Force Subaru STI, Jagger competes in the event alongside the likes of former World Rally Championship drivers Alister McRae and Chris Atkinson, who drive for the Proton MEM World Rally Team. Jagger agrees securing the APRC wildcard position adds prestige to their weekend. “That was definitely important for us. Getting that wildcard entry hugely increases our exposure and it also creates a bit more hype for our local supporters to also cheer us on that little bit more,” says the 22-year-old. Read the rest of this entry »

Paddon takes victory in Rally of Whangarei

Kiwi rally drivers Hayden Paddon and John Kennard showed some dominance at the International Rally of Whangarei from the very first stage of the two-day event, leading through both days to take victory despite the final day’s difficult wet conditions.

Paddon, in a Mitsubishi EVO IX, established an unassailable margin of three minutes, 55 seconds over second-placed Kiwi Emma Gilmour with her Australian co-driver Ben Atkinson. Paddon also won 13 of the event’s 16 competitive stages and set five new stage records.

The rally counts towards both the Asia Pacific and New Zealand rally championships and Paddon was registered for points in both series — the Asia Pacific one courtesy of being allocated a wildcard entry. The 23-year-old from Geraldine added to his weekend’s haul of honours by also collecting maximum possible points in both championships.

Third was the first of the international drivers, Australian Brendon Reeves with his co-driving sister Rhianon Smyth, the pair finishing 27.8 seconds behind Gilmour. A margin of just 0.5 seconds between Reeves and fourth placegetters Alister McRae and Bill Hayes in the Proton highlighted the closeness of their battle throughout Sunday’s sodden stages. Rotorua’s Dean Sumner and Paul Fallon rounded out the top five places and held on to their New Zealand Rally Championship lead by two points from Gilmour.

Paddon and Kennard, two-time New Zealand rally champions, also won this rally in 2007 and 2009 but ranked this one as the best. “This one we did on our own from stage one. Some stages today I’ve pushed harder than I ever have before, and it all felt really comfortable and easy,” said an elated Paddon.

Read the rest of this entry »

McRae arrives for this weekend’s Rally of Whangarei

One of the world’s best-known rally drivers, Alister McRae, has arrived in NZ to have a crack at this weekend’s International Rally of Whangarei.

The experienced World Rally Championship competitor is making his debut in the Whangarei event, although McRae says he’s driven some of the stages during Rally New Zealand, an event he’s competed in six times.

McRae heads to the two-day event, which uses roads around the Whangarei and Kaipara districts, as one of two high profile drivers in the Proton R3 Rally team. Australian Chris Atkinson is his team-mate and McRae enlists the assistance of another experienced Australian Bill Hayes as his co-driver.

“The New Zealand stages are some of the best in the world and I hope the flowing nature will be good for the Proton Satria Neo S2000,” says the 39-year-old Scotsman who now lives in Perth, Australia with his family.

As entrants in the 2010 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, McRae and Atkinson have already contested rallies in Malaysia and Japan, with Whangarei the third on this year’s APRC calendar.

Their cars, the Proton Satria Neo, are built to Super 2000 regulations and run in the APRC by UK rally specialists Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM).

The 2-litre Proton Super 2000 engine produces 278 bhp (222 kW) at 7600 rpm, being derived from the 1.8 litre engine fitted to Proton’s Waja model and further developed by MEM’s engineers.

With a usable power band from 5,500 to 8,500 rpm, the Proton’s engine is matched to a 6-speed sequential 4WD Super 2000 transmission.

“We’ve had a bit of bad luck so far this season, so we hope that changes in New Zealand. The car is showing very good pace, so a clean and good points for the championship are very important,” says McRae.

McRae reckons competition in Whangarei will be tough. He’s been seeded fourth, behind current APRC series leader Japanese driver Katsu Taguchi, Atkinson and New Zealand’s own Hayden Paddon.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fundraiser to help young rally driver Daniel Harris make a come-back

Daniel Harris car1

After a damaging accident at the Rally of Whangarei there is a fundraiser to help raise money to allow Daniel Harris to continue his Rallying career. This is a massive project and the money raised will go toward getting Daniel’s car fixed as soon as possible.

When: Saturday July 4th
Time: 6:30pm
Where: World of Wearable Arts and Classic Cars

Ticket Price: $30 pp or $50 couple (Kids under 15 FREE!)
Supporters Raffle tickets: $25

How to purchase: From the Harris Rallysport website or send an email for payment details to – newsletter@harrisrallysport.co.nz
Alternatively, phone Karen 027 699 0722.

Each ticket purchased comes with a raffle number! Everyone who purchases goes into the draw to win a prize pack worth at least $500

There will be a complementary drink & nibbles and entertainment and presentations. All guests will get a tour of the Classic Cars/Wearable Art Museums.

Guest speaker on the night will be back-to-back NZV8 Champion John McIntyre

Exclusive items for auction include:

  • Signed Toyota Racing Series nose star Brendon Hartley (nose valued at $5000!)
  • Signed Peter Brock cap – New still with tags
  • Brendon Hartley racing visors

To find out more, click here to visit the Harris Rallysport website