For those who thought Rally Spain’s switch from gravel to asphalt trim was a big deal, forget it. Hayden Paddon has had a rethink on what’s possible overnight and he’ll demonstrate the results in Auckland this November.
By day, Paddon will drive his 300bhp Hyundai i20 AP4+ on the City of Auckland Rally on Saturday November 14.
Once done on some of the stages which he – and every other Kiwi rally fan – is hoping will soon be pressed into action on the nation’s World Rally Championship return, his Paddon Rallysport team will set about sourcing a few more horses.
By the time Sunday November 15 dawns, the i20 will have been transformed into a 700bhp hillclimb-specification machine ready to tear up the Jack’s Ridge Rallysprint.
“It’s really exciting to have the chance to drive car in both specifications in one weekend,” said Paddon. “It’s going to be some transformation.”
The change of engine will be the time-consuming part of the operation, with the transmission common to the two cars. But in addition to the motor, the entire body kit changes with the addition of the lighter, big-winged kit seen on hillclimbs like the Ben Nevis Station Golden 1200 which Paddon won earlier this year.
“Overnight,” said Paddon, “the car will be stripped to just have the interior and wiring loom remaining, to then be put back together.”
Rally New Zealand looks to have missed out on a 2021 slot, with Rally Australia back on the roster, but November’s City of Auckland Rally and Jack’s Ridge Rallysprint is the perfect opportunity to showcase what the WRC will be missing.
“The stages on the Saturday are pretty much the same ones they’d use on the WRC round,” said Paddon, “and then the rallysprint is the same, purpose-built venue for the powerstage. It’s going to be a great weekend.”
The i20 AP4++ is the same specification Paddon used to shatter the Ashley Forest Hillclimb record last year. This is what it looks like from the inside.