Debut WRC round victory in Argentina for Paddon and Kennard

Hyundai Press Release Debut WRC round victory in Argentina 25Apr16 2

Kiwi rally drivers Hayden Paddon and John Kennard have made history with their victory at Rally Argentina in their Hyundai i20 rally car as the first New Zealanders to ever win a round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Paddon delivered the drive of his life on the very last challenge of the rally – the famed, mountainous, rock-strewn El Condor special stage – to wrench the rally victory from three-time WRC champion Sébastien Ogier on Sunday afternoon (Argentinean time). Paddon, originally from Geraldine, now holds second place in the WRC drivers’ championship with 57 points to Ogier’s 96 – the highest-ever championship position for a Kiwi rally driver.

Paddon and Kennard, from Blenheim, started Sunday’s final three-stage leg of Rally Argentina in the lead with a margin of 29.8 seconds over Ogier. The first fog-affected run through El Condor saw Ogier take 7.4 seconds out of Paddon’s lead as Paddon lost precious seconds with a gear-change issue. Special stage 17 saw Ogier deliver a blistering run which cut Paddon’s lead to a mere 2.6 seconds with just the final power stage to go. But Paddon stood up to the Frenchman’s challenge, saying he drove the wheels off his new generation Hyundai 120 WRC car to secure not only his first power stage win, but also his debut WRC rally win.

“It’s an amazing feeling, to win like this, on the last stage where the odds were a little bit against us,” said Paddon at the rally finish. “We lost a lot of time in the previous stage and just over two seconds margin going into that last one – I didn’t have a lot of confidence, but we just pushed like hell.”

“We’ve worked a lot on that stage in the three weeks before the rally because I’ve not been particularly strong on the tight and twisty stages. It’s a fantastic result for me, John and the whole team. A huge amount of work has gone into the New Generation i20 WRC. I knew from the first test that we could win with it. I just didn’t quite expect it to be so soon.”

“Everyone in the team, at the rallies and at Alzenau, thoroughly deserves this result. I am sure it’s the start of a lot more to come! I am thankful for everyone who has supported us back home in New Zealand and for all the positive messages we’ve received this weekend.”  

In what has been a history-making weekend of competition, Paddon won five WRC stages, bringing his total WRC stage victories to 15. He’s the second driver from the Southern Hemisphere to win a WRC round (the first being Argentina’s Jorge Recalde who won his home rally in a Lancia in 1988 and in again in a drivers-only round in 1995).

The event victory gives Paddon’s team, Hyundai Motorsport, its first win on a gravel event with Paddon’s team-mate Thierry Neuville having delivered the only other WRC event win for Hyundai on the German tarmac in 2014. It’s also the first win in the new generation Hyundai i20 WRC car in only its fourth outing. All three Hyundai Motorsport crews finished in the top six with Dani Sordo fourth overall and second to Paddon in the points-earning power stage to equal his best result of the season so far and Neuville was sixth to allow Hyundai Motorsport to improve its manufacturers’ championship standing.

Andy Sinclair, General Manager of Hyundai New Zealand, was rapt to see Paddon and Kennard on the top step of the podium in Argentina.

“Congratulations to Hayden and John on a truly outstanding performance to secure their first-ever WRC rally victory,” said Sinclair.

“At Hyundai New Zealand, we have had the great pleasure of working with Hayden since he secured his contract with Hyundai Motorsport. Hayden’s talent, professionalism and determination shine through in everything he does – he and John work incredibly hard and this success is surely just the start of many more such victories. We are looking forward to joining Hayden, John and the Hyundai New Zealand Rally Team crew at the International Rally of Whangarei this week as they compete for the second time in our New Zealand-built i20 rally car, a rally car supported by Hyundai New Zealand. It’s going to be great!”

Prior to the next WRC round in Portugal toward the end of May, Paddon and Kennard fly back to New Zealand to compete in the International Rally of Whangarei (29 April-1 May) in the New Zealand-built Hyundai i20 rally car in which they secured an astounding record-breaking win at Rally Otago just the week before Argentina. The New Zealand-built i20 rally car is part of a new partnership with Hyundai New Zealand designed to foster rallying and other competitors in New Zealand. The project also involves students who participate in a Hyundai New Zealand-backed mentoring programme for talented, passionate teenagers 15-18 years old called the Pinnacle Programme.

FIA World Rally Championship, round 4, Rally Argentina

Overall Final Classification

1.          H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) 2:54:45.6

2.          S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +14.3

3.          A. Mikkelsen / A. Jaeger (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +1:05.2

4.          D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +1:17.1

5.          M. Østberg / O. Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:56.7

6.          T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +9:29.5

7.          M. Ligato / R. Garcia (Citroën DS3 WRC) +9:39.2

8.          E. Camilli / B. Veillas (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +10:16.0

9.          H. Solberg / I. Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +10:48.5

10.        N. Fuchs / F. Mussano (Škoda Fabia R5) +24:42.8

2016 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
S. Ogier 96 points / H. Paddon 57 / M. Østberg 52 /  A. Mikkelsen 48 / D. Sordo 44 / J. M. Latvala 27 / O. Tanak 24  / T. Neuville 23/ S. Lefebvre 10 / H. Solberg 8 / M. Prokop 6 / E. Evans 6 / M. Ligato 6 / C. Breen 4 / L. Bertelli 4 / E. Camilli 4 / T. Suninen 3 / E. Lappi 2 / A. Kremer 1 / K. Meeke 1 / V. Gorban 1 / N. Fuchs 1

2016 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings

Volkswagen Motorsport  117 points / Hyundai Motorsport 81 / M-Sport World Rally Team 62  / Hyundai Motorsport N 49 / Volkswagen Motorsport II 45 / DMACK World Rally Team 30 / Jipocar Czech National Team 6

Hyundai announces Special Edition Paddon Santa Fe

Hyundai Press Release Hyundai announces Special Edition Paddon Santa Fe 15Apr16 1

Hyundai New Zealand is celebrating Hayden Paddon’s historic nine minute victory at Rally Otago with the announcement of a new Special Edition of its award-winning Santa Fe SUV.

Paddon, New Zealand’s most successful rally driver, partnered with his regular navigator John Kennard and drove a new Hyundai New Zealand built i20 rally car to win Rally Otago, giving the AP4 version of the i20 its maiden victory on debut.

Hyundai New Zealand General Manager, Andy Sinclair, said the company had begun planning the Hayden Paddon Special Edition Santa Fe – HP Edition for short – when Paddon re-signed with Hyundai New Zealand as well as with the factory rally team for the coming three seasons in October 2015.

“The Santa Fe Series II was going out to showrooms at the time, and knowing how deep the passion for our SUVs runs with Kiwi motorists, it seemed appropriate to mark the occasion with a Special Edition version. Then when the i20 AP4 project came together and Hayden won Otago by such a huge margin, it made the Santa Fe even more significant,” he said.

Hayden Paddon says there are few better ways to acknowledge the exciting relationship between Hyundai New Zealand and himself.

“The new Santa Fe is an awesome SUV that really suits the Kiwi way of life and this Special Edition version is very cool. Hyundai has been incredibly supportive of us over the past few championship seasons, and now there’s a chance for customers to share in this relationship and maybe even come watch us in action.”

Each Hayden Paddon Special Edition Santa Fe comes with two signed Hyundai WRC rally jackets, a rally experience with Hayden Paddon and the NZ-built i20 rally car in New Zealand, and the chance to win a VIP tour for two people to see Hayden Paddon in action with the Hyundai World Rally Team at Rally Australia in November 2016.

“That’s a one in 50 chance for the rally experience of a lifetime. Hayden’s form this year has been excellent, and we can expect he will really turn it on at Rally Australia,” said Andy Sinclair.

“The Special Edition Santa Fe is offered by Hyundai’s national network of dealers to Hyundai customers who are looking to stand out on urban streets, in car parks at winter sports and on rural byways.”

Based on the CRDI Elite 7S version of the new Santa Fe Series II launched in late 2015, the HP version arrives from the factory fitted with Brembo brakes, 19 inch OZ Racing alloy wheels fitted with Michelin tyres, sports-tuned suspension and a subtle but distinctive body kit.

Local additions include a blacked-out front grille, tinted windows and HP-branded interior items including dashboard badges, HP embossed headrests and centre console with signature orange stitching, bespoke orange-stitched door armrests and HP-branded floor mats.

Outside there are tasteful HP Edition graphics, HP wheel centre caps and badging.

The Hayden Paddon Special Edition Santa Fe is priced at $79,990 RRP.

“People wanting to celebrate this sensational partnership between Hayden and Hyundai – and to make a very stylish Special Edition Santa Fe their own – would be well to move quickly. We don’t expect these 50 vehicles to be around the dealerships very long,” says Andy.

Pinnacle Programme stands alongside driven and passionate Kiwi teens

Hayden Paddon with Bernice Mene Pinnacle programme head LR

Hyundai’s Pinnacle Programme is supporting two lucky young New Zealanders who will work within Hayden Paddon’s rally team this year.

The programme, facilitated jointly by Bernice Mene and Lucy Strack, recognises young Kiwis with passion, drive and talent. It aims to help equip them with the skills and confidence they need in order to succeed.

Founded in 2005 as a way of helping New Zealand’s elite sportspeople hone their abilities and compete at the highest level, it has since been expanded to a three year development and mentoring programme that recognises the passions of those who seek to excel in a wide range of disciplines including art, science, business, sport, politics and leadership.

Pinnacle programme is open to teens between 15 and 18 years old. Applications are by way of a profile form on the programme website,, and there are 20 places available in the first year, ten in the second and five in the more intensive third year. Successful applicants for the places in the programme have come from as far north as Whangarei and as far south as Te Anau. There are currently 45 teens in the programme.

The three year programme takes young people on a journey that begins with self-discovery and ends with intensive mentoring in their chosen field.

Along the way, successful applicants are able to experience two of New Zealand's prominent leadership programmes, Spirit of Adventure and Outward Bound.

Through Pinnacle, Hyundai is helping more young kiwis achieve their dreams, supporting future generations.

Now, the programme stands alongside a separate initiative that embeds two WINTEC students with Hayden Paddon for the Otago and Whangarei rallies.

Bernice Mene says there are strong synergies between the Pinnacle Programme and the new Paddon initiative with WINTEC. Both are part of Hyundai New Zealand’s commitment to helping New Zealanders perform at the highest level – just as Hayden Paddon does in world rallying.

“The partnership between Hyundai NZ, Pinnacle and Hayden Paddon is about developing youth and broadening opportunities,” she said.

The two students selected to be part of the Hayden Paddon initiative are Matthew Mallett (Rally Otago) and Tony Pavich (Rally Whangarei). Both mechanical engineering students, they will join the rally team and work in the fast-paced, high pressure environment of the rally service park, gaining an insight into where their chosen course of study could take them.

Hyundai New Zealand enters local rally sport with Paddon

Hyundai Press Release Hyundai New Zealand enters local rally sport with Paddon 1

Hayden Paddon is joining up with Hyundai New Zealand to launch the first-ever New Zealand-developed Hyundai rally car and create a new partnership to benefit the New Zealand rally sport scene.

Paddon, New Zealand’s most successful rally driver currently competes in the World Rally Championship with long-time co-driver John Kennard as part of the Hyundai Motorsport Team. Together they will contest two rounds of the New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) in the 1.8-litre, turbocharged Hyundai i20 rally car.

“I’m very excited to be part of this programme with Hyundai New Zealand as we enter a new phase of our partnership to bring our rally exploits back to New Zealand and to introduce Hyundai New Zealand to the NZRC,” says Paddon as he arrived back in New Zealand following his most recent WRC event in Mexico.

“Together, we are all working to provide more opportunities for people in New Zealand rallying and this new car will form a major part of this project while also allowing John and myself to, once again, enjoy two of the best rally events and rally roads in the world.”

The partnership has resulted in the formation of the Hyundai New Zealand Rally Team, which will swing into action to support Paddon and Kennard’s entry into two of New Zealand’s biggest rally sport events – Rally Otago, 8-10 April and the International Rally of Whangarei, 29 April to 1 May.

The new Hyundai i20 has been built and developed in conjunction with well-known rally driver and fabricator Andrew Hawkeswood of Force Motorsport. Its chassis is constructed according to AP4 (Asia Pacific) regulations, which Paddon believes will be critical to the future of New Zealand rallying.

“AP4 technical regulations provide for a new, more affordable generation of four-wheel-drive (4WD) turbocharged rally car which is eligible for competition in both national and international events within the Asia Pacific region,” Paddon says. 

“Otago and Whangarei are my two favourite rallies in the world. The car is still early in development, but has a lot of potential and we look forward to working closely with Force to help develop it into a rally-winning car. Like any new formula, it will take a little longer for this car to catch on, but I believe that value for money is the key with this sort of car. While not at the same level, it has the same design principles and look of a WRC car.”

An immediate example of this includes the involvement of students from the Pinnacle Programme, a mentoring programme for talented, passionate teenagers 15-18 years old in the upcoming events, and headed by netball great Bernice Mene.

“This project is much bigger than John and I,” Paddon says. “This is an opportunity to boost New Zealand rallying by introducing new people to the sport in conjunction with the Hyundai New Zealand-backed Pinnacle programme.

Paddon appreciates the support of the Hyundai New Zealand dealer network. “Hyundai New Zealand and their nationwide dealer network have played a big part in our WRC career over the past three years, and now we want to build on that relationship here at home in New Zealand while working together to further develop and strengthen the sport.”

Andy Sinclair, General Manager of Hyundai New Zealand, is equally excited by the new partnership.

“This is a wonderful new phase of our partnership with Hayden,” says Sinclair. “To see our new Hyundai i20 rally car in action in the hands of Hayden and John on the best gravel rally roads in the world, running under the Hyundai New Zealand Rally Team banner, will be fantastic for everyone at Hyundai New Zealand and our dealer network.”

Sinclair pays credit to the Hyundai dealer network. “They are a pivotal component of our partnership with Hayden, and a big part of this project. This new rally car is for them, a tangible opportunity for them to showcase our brand and its new connection with New Zealand rallying. We’re excited by its potential.”

The Hyundai i20 rally car will feature in dealer promotional events between rallies and provide the opportunity for rally ride days for customers and staff.

Sinclair says: “Hayden is a true athlete – he embodies the Kiwi ‘can do’ spirit and his commitment to ever-improving performance will undoubtedly provide a fantastic example for the young teenagers selected through the Pinnacle Programme to join our rally team in Otago and Whangarei.”

Hyundai New Zealand steps up support for Hayden Paddon

Hayden Paddon backed by NZ companies for his 2016 WRC campaign

Hyundai New Zealand is excited to announce that it has confirmed a three-year agreement with Kiwi motorsport star Hayden Paddon as Paddon and co-driver John Kennard prepare to commence their biggest season in the World Rally Championship.

Paddon and Kennard, from Geraldine and Blenheim respectively, form New Zealand’s most successful rally driver and co-driver pairing. Having confirmed a three-year contract with Hyundai Motorsport toward the end of the 2015 season, Paddon and Kennard return to the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship, which starts in Monte Carlo on 22 January, for a full 14-rally season in a Hyundai i20 WRC car.

Hyundai New Zealand and their nationwide dealer network have backed Paddon since his original signing with Hyundai Motorsport in 2014. The commitment to a three-year partnership makes perfect sense, says Hyundai New Zealand’s General Manager Andy Sinclair.

“As a 100 per cent Kiwi-owned Company, the decision to extend our support of a New Zealand sportsperson of Hayden’s calibre was easy,” says Sinclair.

“Along with our nationwide dealer network, customers and motorsport fans around New Zealand and the world, we have watched Hayden develop and grow an incredible amount over the past two years.”

“The Hyundai dealer network across New Zealand makes a significant financial commitment to our partnership with Hayden and to help keep Hayden doing what Hayden does best. We know Hayden values the support of our dealer network as much as we do.

“Together we’re very proud to support Hayden’s WRC campaign and look forward to seeing Hayden and John continue their rise to the top of world rallying. With an expanded WRC season of 14 rounds, they have their best opportunity yet to demonstrate their talents behind a wheel of a Hyundai i20 WRC car.

“There’s no doubt our vision and motivation is matched by Hayden and John’s ambition to be the best. We know they will take every chance to build on the success of last year’s first-ever podium finish. Hayden is, and will continue to be, a fine ambassador for the Hyundai brand in New Zealand.”

Paddon comments: “This is our third year working together with Hyundai New Zealand and their dealer network across New Zealand. They form a huge part of our WRC campaign as John and I continue to strive towards our ultimate goal of being world champions.”

“To represent such a supportive New Zealand organisation and a brand I am very passionate about is an honour. Working with Hyundai New Zealand is hugely enjoyable – we’re always keen to encourage more Kiwis to buy a Hyundai!”

Paddon adds: “We also have some other exciting New Zealand-based projects with Hyundai New Zealand on the horizon and look forward to sharing more about these soon.”