23 Aug
23 August 2023

Hayden Paddon top seed entry for Manawatū’s Daybreaker Rally

Recently crowned FIA European Rally champions Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard will start as first car for the Daybreaker Rally.

The pair will lead a field of 100 cars, contesting 150km of Manawatū and Rangitīkei roads on September 22-23.

Starting and finishing in Feilding, the capacity event has drawn teams to tackle roads used throughout its 40-year history – made famous by the likes of Neil Allport, Joe McAndrew and Possum Bourne.

Using a left-hand-drive Hyundai i20N Rally 2 car, it will be Paddon’s first visit to the region’s roads.

“I’ve never done the Daybreaker before and now we’ve ticked off our objective of the European Championship we can focus on our New Zealand championship,” said Paddon – who along with Kennard have one hand on the New Zealand Rally Championship trophy – a title they have won six times.

“For us it’s all about getting the result. So we will be pushing right from the start and making sure we’re in the best position to get maximum points.

“Being first car on the road adds to the challenge, especially over roads we’ve never driven before, but that’s the sort of thing that motivates us to do what we love doing.”

Along with 40 teams competing for rally championship placings, the rally has drawn the largest field the event has had in more than 20 years.

A previous regular on the championship calendar, its return follows the cancellation of two other rounds due to flood-damaged roading.

Planned and brought to life by former competitors Tony McConachy and Paul Fallon, the pair have been strongly supported by the local community in their quest to organise a competitive-yet-friendly format.

All 100 cars will be packed into Feilding’s Manchester Square on Friday evening on September 22. A driver signing session will precede the 6pm ceremonial start.

Action starts at 5.30am the next day, with the cars heading north for the first of nine competitive stages.

The journey includes two service stops in Taihape with a third stop in Kimbolton.

The final stage will be at Manfeild in Feilding with the first car starting the 10.77km course from 3.20pm.

The finishing teams get to celebrate in front of a viewing area.

Tickets to the event go on sale this Friday for an online price of $12.50 and can be purchased via daybreaker.co.nz.