The history of rallying in New Zealand – DirtFish
Carlos Sainz (four), Loeb (three), Colin McRae (three), Timo Salonen (two) and Richard Burns (two) are also multiple WRC event winners, while Andrew Cowan, Hannu Mikkola and Hayden Paddon have everyone has won the rally more than once, but not always in the WRC.
Paddon’s pair of victories have come on the last two editions of Rally New Zealand. The rally did not take place at all between 2013 and 2016, but returned in 2017 and 2018; the last of those years still being the last time the event took place as the organizer prepared for a return to the WRC which was twice delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
But that doesn’t mean the rally in New Zealand is dormant, far from it. Apart from 2020, when New Zealand was under a strict lockdown in response to COVID-19, the New Zealand Local Rally Championship has been run every year since 1975.
This year, Paddon will be aiming for a record sixth title that would elevate him above Richard Mason’s five. Subarus and Mitsubishi have always been the cars – having won all but three titles since 1993 – but the new AP4+ regulations proved their worth as Paddon and Andrew Hawkeswood won titles in Mazda and Hyundai equipment.