Kiwi Rallying Royalty, and 2016 WRC Rally Argentina winner Hayden Paddon, has won the 2023 Rally of Otago in emphatic style – once again raising the bar on what can be done through the world-famous finale Kuri Bush. Paddon completed the 267.46km competitive kilometres with a time of 2 hours, nine minutes and 1.8 seconds, leaving an impressive 4 minutes and 23 seconds of clear space between him and second place – another PRG prepared car piloted by promising youngster Ari Pettigrew. Ben Hunt came in just 22.4 seconds further back to round out the top three overall, top three TER and top three APRC competitors. Skoda driver Raana Horan came in fourth place, with local Dunedin driver Emma Gilmour falling just 24.2 seconds shy of chasing him down in fifth place. In the FIA 2wd class, Jackson Clendon found himself only having to finish to take it out, after a tumultuous SS10 left him with only the one competitor – Dylan Thomson – who due to also running into trouble in SS10 was over 24 minutes behind the fellow Fiesta driver. Category 3 was taken by Daniel Haines, with Glenn Alcorn taking second, over five and a half minutes behind. John Silcock took out NZRC Cat 4 – Classic 2wd – in his RX7 Group B, with fellow RX7 driver Stewart Reid coming in second, 2:27.7 behind after an impressive push on Sunday. Finnish superstar Mikko Hirvonen came home first in the Otago Classic 2wd Rally, trailed by Deane Buist just one minute and eighteen seconds behind. Jeff Judd brought his Escort home in third, to complete a Ford RS1800 clean sweep of the podium. John Silcock and Stewart Reid took fourth and fifth respectively, both in Mazda RX7s. In Classic 2wd Class B, Jason Clark (Toyota Starlet), Dean Schroder (Toyota Trueno) and Miles McElwain (Toyota Corolla AE86) came home in eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth overall to complete the class podium. After some misfortune for his competitors, Marcus van Klink took the Allcomers overall and Class C victory, ahead of Jeff Ward, with almost two and a half minutes of headroom. Ward took out the D class victory, ahead of third overall Brian Green and fifth overall Julien Lenglet. Bruce Herbert took out fourth, along with second in Class C. Third in Class C went to Gareth O’Hara in eighth overall. Local driver Ian Warren brought his Nissan Pulsar in ninth, winning B class by over two minutes over David Birkett in his Levin. Third Class B went to the Toyota AE86 of Craig Cormack. In class A, Pat Norris brought his Toyota Yaris home as the only 0-1300cc finisher in Allcomers. Check with Chrissport for more detail.
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