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Hayden Paddon ready to electrify Ashley Forest Rallysprint

Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon is taking the Hyundai Kona EV rally car into competition for just the second time at the Ashley Forest Rallysprint taking place over the weekend of 17 and 18 September.

Paddon won the short, intense 1.7 km gravel hillclimb near Rangiora when it was last run in 2019 with a blistering time of 52.77 seconds in his Hyundai i20 AP4 rally car, which is the most successful car in New Zealand Rally Championship history.

Now Paddon is focused on winning the hillclimb in the Paddon Rallysport-developed all-electric Hyundai Kona rally car. With significant support from Hyundai New Zealand, 80 per cent of the Kona EV was designed in-house by Paddon’s New Zealand team for the chassis design, engineering, aerodynamics, suspension, steering, cooling, and electrics.

The 400+ kW electric-powered rally car is a one of a kind in New Zealand so far and has already shown it’s competitive, when Paddon drove it to victory in its first-ever event at the Waimate 50 Motorsport Festival in October last year. Running in the unlimited 4WD class of the 4.0 km gravel hillclimb, Paddon and the Kona EV won the event with a time of one minute, 58.38 seconds.

Paddon is excited to line up for the iconic Ashley Forest hillclimb, an event first run in 1979 by Canterbury’s RATEC Motorsport Club and one that Paddon has long followed.

In recent developments with the Kona EV, a third motor has been fitted to give it more power. Paddon describes this as an interim development until a new battery arrives from Austrian company Stohl Advanced Research and Development (STARD) which provides technical support.

As part of a year-long campaign to give back to the communities visited by Paddon Rallysport during their rally year, the Paddon’s Project will see a deserving North Canterbury local offered the opportunity to spend a day with Paddon Rallysport at the Ashley Forest event which includes riding shotgun in the Kona EV’s passenger seat during one of Paddon’s timed runs. (More information on the Paddon’s Project is available on the webpage https://paddonrallysport.co.nz/paddons-project/.)

Paddon says: “I’m very excited for this event, particularly after we tested the Kona EV in its new configuration two weeks ago! There is a big unknown in terms of what the car is capable of, but I think that is also why the whole team is excited to see what can be achieved.

“The major, most recent development is the mounting of an extra motor, so the Kona EV is now powered by three motors which gives it more power. This is an interim development while we await the new battery which will open up more opportunities for us. With an extra motor, we’ve had to work on other aspects like the car’s setup, so it’s been a busy time for us all after returning from Europe and getting the Hyundai i20 Rally2 car ahead of Rally New Zealand as well. But this is such a big part of why we love motorsport. It’s a continuing journey to keep improving and to keep winning. We all thrive on such challenges.

“I’m looking forward to surprise our Paddon’s Project winner with a unique opportunity to spend the day with our team and enjoy a ride in the EV with us.”

Hyundai New Zealand CEO Andy Sinclair comments: “We’re excited to see how the Kona EV rally car performs against the rest of the field at Ashley Forest. This is a key milestone in the journey towards electrification of motorsport in New Zealand, particularly in rally. There’s no denying this car has significant power and torque. Spectators will be in for a real treat!”

Paddon and Hyundai New Zealand Rally appreciate the support of Hyundai New Zealand, Mitre 10 Trade, Z Energy, Makita, Bailey Caravans, Ben Nevis Station, Winmax Brakes, Gravity Internet, Pak N’ Save, Bars Bugs, Pirelli, OMP/Racer Products, Mike Greer Homes, Bartercard, Accessman, Sign It Signs, Carters Tyre Service, ETCO, MITO and Provident Insurance.

Keep up with news on Hayden Paddon and the Hyundai New Zealand Rally team via the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/paddonrallysport.

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