Paddon scores career best with second place at WRC Italy

Hayden Paddon + John Kennard WRC Italy Sunday by Vettas Media 2 LR

New Zealand’s most successful rally driver Hayden Paddon has ably demonstrated his star potential having secured a history-making, career-best second place at this weekend’s Rally Italy Sardinia.

Paddon and co-driver John Kennard marked their first anniversary with Hyundai Motorsport by creating a double podium finish with Belgium team-mates Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul for the World Rally Championship’s newest manufacturer.

Paddon and Kennard led the rally from the start of Friday’s action – the first New Zealanders to lead an overseas WRC event – and only relinquished that lead on Saturday afternoon’s loop after leading the rally outright for 15 stages. They delivered Sunday’s results exactly to plan, securing their fourth stage win of this rally and safely getting to the finish despite some niggles with their Hyundai i20 WRC car.

 Paddon described his first-ever WRC podium finish – the best result by a New Zealander in an overseas WRC rally – as a dream result. Paddon said: “To finish on the podium is an absolutely amazing feeling. Words can’t really do justice to how I’m feeling right now.

 “We had a strong weekend from the start but we just tried to take each stage as it came without looking too much at the timesheets. We knew it would get tougher once we lost the start position advantage so the fact we could hold our own against the World Champion was just fantastic.”

“We had our issues on Saturday afternoon, and thought that was the rally over, but thankfully we pushed on through, kept digging deep and made it through the Sunday in a comfortable second. Considering our buffer to Thierry in third, we took today very easily, not taking any risks and we have a debut podium as a reward.

“It’s been great to have such support from back home and I’m sorry they’ve had some late nights. I hope it’s been as worthwhile for them as it has been for us. We couldn’t have done this without the team, so my thanks to everyone at Hyundai Motorsport, too. Let’s hope this is the start of more results to come.”

This weekend Paddon’s Hyundai i20 WRC car was fitted with the paddle-shift gearbox system for the first time.

“Surprisingly, that’s [the paddle-shift] made a very big difference, but we didn't have much testing before the event,” Paddon said. “The first time I used the paddle was at shakedown and a couple of times in the super special on Thursday night I went for the lever. The paddle helps to use the engine a bit more. Looking at the data, I’d been a gear higher than Thierry [Neuville] and Dani [Sordo] and now I’m a gear down in some places. In a lot of corners with the paddles, I’m using the gears more and really feeling the torque – that’s where the improvement is coming.

“But you know, I never thought, to be honest, about the result, it was just one stage at a time. We wanted to go out and do our own thing. I don't think we would have kept Seb behind in a straight fight, I think he had something in the tank, but I was a bit surprised when we were still there [in the rally lead] on Saturday lunchtime.”

For Paddon’s co-driver John Kennard, this was the second time he’d stepped onto a WRC podium, the previous occasion being 27 years ago when he co-drove for the late Malcolm Stewart in an Audi Quattro coupe to secure third place in the 1988 running of Rally New Zealand, a round of the WRC drivers’ championship that year.

When asked about the pressure of leading the rally for 15 stages, Blenheim-based Kennard said: “Like Hayden said, a few years ago we went back to the mentality of doing our own thing. We do the best we can do, and if that’s right or wrong, we can do something about it. We did our thing and it happened to turn out quite well.”

Paddon and Kennard’s result surprised rally organisers who weren’t expecting to need a New Zealand flag for the podium presentation. A quick ask-around the assembled fans saw a New Zealand rally fan lend their flag to ensure the star Kiwis were properly represented on the surrounding flag poles.

Speaking at the post-event media conference, double world rally champion Sebastien Ogier, who took the rally victory, said: “The two guys on my right [Paddon and Kennard] did a great job. It was kind of a surprise for them to be fighting for so long at the front, but not completely a surprise for me. I knew he had good potential when I saw him competing and I drove against him in 2012 when we were both in a Skoda. I remember some good times from him. I take the chance to say really well done for him.”

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “What a weekend! We have experienced the full range of highs and lows but we leave Rally Italia Sardegna with a truly amazing double podium. Hayden has performed exceptionally this weekend and he has shown why he is a real star of the future in World Rally. He acquitted himself professionally and calmly - even in the face of issues - and he thoroughly deserves second place. It is particularly fitting on his one-year anniversary as a Hyundai Motorsport WRC driver.

“The team performed admirably and worked so hard to ensure we got all cars to Sunday’s final stages. It’s this work ethic that makes these results even more special.”

The next event for Paddon and Kennard is Rally Poland running from 2 to 5 July. After this Paddon returns briefly to New Zealand to make a special guest appearance for Auckland motor vehicle dealership Winger Hyundai at New Zealand’s largest automotive and motorsport show, the CRC Speedshow, at the ASB Showgrounds on 18 and 19 July.

Paddon and Hyundai visit CRC Speedshow for the first time

Hayden Paddon WRC Rally Argentina 2015 Sunday 2 credit tWorld Vettas Media LR

Hayden Paddon, the only New Zealander competing in the World Rally Championship (WRC), is set to feature alongside Winger Hyundai at New Zealand’s largest motor sport and automotive show, the CRC Speedshow, held on 18 and 19 July in Auckland.

Paddon is New Zealand’s first-ever driver to compete full-time in the WRC and is currently in his second season with the Hyundai Motorsport team. Originally from Geraldine, the popular rally driver has an impressive string of results and records under his belt nationally and internationally as a three-time New Zealand Rally Champion and the 2011 Production World Rally Champion.

Ross Prevette, managing director of CRC Speedshow, said: “It is just fantastic to confirm that Hayden Paddon and Winger Hyundai will be coming to the show for the first time this year. We’re ecstatic to have a driver of Hayden’s calibre as our special guest at the show and know that motorsport fans will welcome the opportunity to meet the Kiwi rally driver we all love to support as he strives to be the first ever World Rally Champion from the Southern Hemisphere.”

Prevette adds: “We have a big list of activities for Hayden to do while he’s at the show, including some one-on-one challenges with show visitors so I’m sure it will be a lot of fun for everyone and provide a unique opportunity to chat to one of the rally world’s best competitors.” 

Visitors to the CRC Speedshow will have the chance to meet Paddon several times during the event held at the ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane, and watch him race in the Right Karts Celebrity Charity Kart Challenge against some of New Zealand’s other top racing stars including Michael Pickens, Andrew Stroud and Andre Heimgartner.

Taking time out of his hectic WRC schedule, Paddon will have just contested Rally Poland in his Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team Hyundai i20 WRC world rally car before making the trip back to New Zealand specifically for CRC Speedshow where he looks forward to meeting fans and motorsport enthusiasts and sharing some of his stories from the WRC.

Paddon says: “We always love returning home to New Zealand, and in particular to this year be involved with the CRC Speedshow is something I’m really looking forward to. It’s something that has never quite fit in with our schedule in the past, but thanks to Hyundai, we can make it back and look forward to interacting with our fans.”

Grant Vincent, dealer principal of Winger Hyundai, a key partner of Paddon’s alongside Hyundai New Zealand and the other Hyundai dealerships  in New Zealand, is also delighted Paddon can fly the Hyundai flag in front of the tens of thousands of CRC Speedshow visitors. Their focus is all about Kiwi families and giving them a day out to remember.

Vincent comments: “As a New Zealand owned and operated brand, we’re proud to support Hayden in his international competition and bringing him home to New Zealand to meet his local supporters at the CRC Speedshow. It’s also our first time at the show and we’re really excited to be there, especially with the wide range of activities we have lined up.

“Our activities also have a strong family focus so it’ll be great to see how our younger fans go against Hayden. There are lots of prizes up for grabs too so there will definitely be something for the whole family.”

More information about the 2015 CRC Speedshow is available from the event’s website,

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Hyundai Motor Makes an Amazing Connection by Sending 'A Message to Space'

A Message to Space 1

Hyundai Motor has used the brand’s ‘New Thinking’ approach to connect the most distant of families, setting a novel world record in the process. When the daughter of an astronaut on the International Space Station had a special hand-written letter to send to her father, Hyundai Motor found an ‘out of this world’ way to share her message.

The newly launched campaign, entitled ‘A Message to Space’, revolves around a 13-year-old girl from Houston, Texas whose father is an astronaut and often away on space missions for many months at a time. Hyundai Motor conceived of a way for her to stay in touch with her father while he is gone by writing a personal message in giant lettering, big enough to be read from space.

Using the Delamar Dry Lake, Nevada, US as a blank canvas, Hyundai Motor dispatched 11 Genesis cars to write an epic message covering an area more than one and a half times that of New York City’s Central Park. Capturing the message from his daughter, Stephanie, from the International Space Station, the astronaut was able to demonstrate the enormous scale of the mission.

Measuring 5.55 km2, the creation has been officially recognized as ‘the largest tire track image’ ever by Guinness World Records, proving that distance is no obstacle for Hyundai when uniting loved ones.

Describing the brand’s philosophy of caring for its customers, Scott Noh, Head of Overseas Marketing Group, Hyundai Motor Company said, “Keeping in line with Hyundai Motor’s corporate vision of being a ‘lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond’, the campaign highlights our philosophy of caring for customers through emotional interaction and becoming a brand beyond simply a means of transportation. Although sending a message to space with our Genesis cars was not an easy challenge, it enabled us to demonstrate our caring vision to our customers.”

Experts from Korea, Europe, and the United States gathered to successfully deliver the ambitious project. Firstly, the team had to identify optimal locations based on numerous geographical and meteorological factors. After several expeditions to various locations, and analyzing global weather data, Delamar Dry Lake in Nevada was selected as the most optimal destination.

The whole event proved challenging and required a vehicle with outstanding engine performance, precise handling, a proven powertrain, and excellent driving stability to cope with the rough surface while creating the elaborate message. Perfect synchronization was required to perform the tire track writing, so the team decided that the Hyundai Genesis was the ideal automobile for the challenge. You can view the video below.

A Winning Wicket: Hyundai New Zealand Supplies Official Fleet of 94 Vehicles to ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

ICC VIK handover

Hyundai Motor Company is the official automotive partner of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 which is being jointly hosted in Australia and New Zealand. Hyundai New Zealand has this week provided a 94 vehicle fleet to be used during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. This fleet includes the Santa Fe, New Zealand’s favourite Diesel family wagon, the ix35, New Zealand’s number one selling small SUV, the iMax van and the i40 wagon.

The ICC Cricket World Cup will be held between February 14 and March 29 in seven cities in Australia and seven cities in New Zealand. New Zealand will stage a total of 23 games in Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin. The Hyundai fleet will be used by ICC officials, referees, staff and organization executives throughout the tournament, with the iMax to be used as the team car.

Hyundai New Zealand held a ceremony at Auckland’s Milford Beach on the 7th February to mark the handover of the vehicle fleet. This ceremony was attended by Hyundai New Zealand officials and ICC executives. Campbell Jamieson, ICC General Manager - Commercial, attended the ceremony and said “We are absolutely delighted that Hyundai is supporting the ICC Cricket World Cup in New Zealand. The ICC is proud to partner with a global automotive leader and we look forward to using the fleet throughout the tournament period”.

As part of Hyundai’s partnership with the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Hyundai New Zealand also hosted a beach cricket competition to encourage families to spend quality time together over the summer months. Competitions were held at four beaches around New Zealand: New Brighton Beach, Christchurch; Tahuna Beach, Nelson; Petone Beach, Wellington; and Milford Beach, Auckland.

 “We hope that our beach cricket campaign helped bring families together as they celebrated the summer of cricket in anticipation of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Cricket is New Zealand’s summer sport and, as the official car partner, we are proud to contribute to a momentous event that brings so many people together from around the world” said Hyundai New Zealand General Manager, Andy Sinclair.

Hyundai New Zealand is also running a competition from mid-February to mid-March where customers can go into the draw to win a trip to the highly anticipated cricket final in Melbourne. All they need to do is test drive a Hyundai.

In 2011 Hyundai signed a five-year deal with the ICC to become the first official car sponsor. The agreement covers the ICC World Twenty20, ICC Champions Trophy, and ICC Cricket World Cup. The partnership is part of Hyundai’s efforts to expand its global sports marketing activities.