Pitstop Diary: 'No need for Hayden Paddon to panic' over rally resting

Hayden Paddon has been dropped for the Rally of Spain.

Hayden Paddon has been dropped for the Rally of Spain.

OPINION: The unexpected decision by Hyundai Motorsport to "rest" Hayden Paddon from the next World Rally Championship round in Spain has sent tongues wagging and speculating. 

While it hasn't been the best of seasons for Paddon, often these decisions are made due to money, politics and board room decisions, particularly when manufacturers are involved. 

Paddon will be replaced by Norwegian driver Andreas Mikkelsen, who has driven for Citroen in the last three WRC rounds.

New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon in action at the Rally Deutschland in Germany.

New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon in action at the Rally Deutschland in Germany.

Hyundai Motorsport has lost ground in the Manufacturers' Championship in recent rallies and signed Mikkelsen for the three remaining rounds of the championship – in Spain, Wales GB and Australia. 

Paddon: 'We won't give up'
Paddon happy to be home
Kiwi eighth in Germany
Brighter day for Paddon

Paddon is a class act and shouldn't need to panic as these decisions are out largely of his hands.  Next weekend he will compete in Canterbury at the Ashley Forest Rally Sprint.

Johnny Mac back 

Arguably the best and most successful domestic motorsport series gets underway in Invercargill on Saturday. 

Teretonga Park hosts the opening of three rounds of the South Island Endurance Series made up of a One Hour and a Three Hour races.

Nelson's John McIntyre is back this year in a very exotic Manthey-spec Porsche 991 MR and will be very quick.

He has Simon Gilbertson from Taradale as co-driver in the three hour series. The pairing will be looking to go one place better in 2017 after finishing runner up in both the 2015 and 2016 Series. 

Porsche may be the favoured brand to win with 2015 3-Hour Series Champions, Angus and George McFarlane of Christchurch returning in their Porsche 997 Cup R, while Scott O'Donnell of Invercargill and Allan Dippie of Dunedin, winners of the Teretonga 3 Hour Race in 2015, return in their Porsche 991 Cup Car. 

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Crowd favourites Matt and Dwayne Carter of Auckland also return in their Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 to make it a real German tug of war for the 2017 title.

While the North Island Audis' have not entered the Invercargill round it is expected that they will be back to compete in the Christchurch round at the end of September.

O'Donnell and Dippie will also contest the One Hour event.  It is likely that the incredibly fast Toyota AE86 V8 of Dunedin's Chris Henderson will again be the one to beat.

However, in a class where reliability is paramount he will receive some stiff competition from the Corvette C6R of Bruce Davidson and series rookie Boyd Wilson who teams up with young Formula Ford driver Jordan Michaels in a V8 Ford Falcon

Mega-enduro  challenge

Christchurch racers Mike Blackmore and Jacob Brownlees head a strong southern contingent contesting this weekend's Polaris NZ 1000 off-road race at Ohakuri near Taupo. 

Blackmore brings his factory-built Honda Pilot Baja-spec race truck to the event for the second time, aiming to give the tough desert truck a better run than in 2015 when it was slowed by tyre issues.  The fast single-seater racecar of Brownlees runs a Mitsubishi Evo engine in a custom-built frame and has shown race-winning form in medium-length endurance races.

Racing in the same unlimited class in his Scorpion Chev two-seater car is Greg Winn of Nelson.  The southern racers go up against a record entry that has topped out at 100 and includes three international crews.

Benjamin Carrell is the online editor of nz motorracing.co.nz

 - Stuff

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