Motorsport: Mixed weekend for Kiwi campaigners

Hayden Paddon during day one of Rally Finland. Photo / Honza Fronek
Hayden Paddon during day one of Rally Finland. Photo / Honza Fronek

It was an up and down weekend of motor sport for the New Zealanders racing abroad. For some it was their first mechanical failure and for others it was a clean race and a win.

Hayden Paddon who, despite mechanical dramas in the past has always managed to limp home and gain a few points, did not this time, unfortunately.

Paddon and his co-driver, John Kennard, arrived in Finland for round four of the FIA WRC S2000 championship, leading the chase for the title. The Kiwis made a solid start with their new team, the Austrian outfit Baumschlager Rallye & Racing (BRR).

But a small widget in Paddon's engine let go, forcing the pair to coast to a halt after two stages on day two of the rally. Rules state engines cannot be replaced, or internally repaired during an event.

Paddon has dropped back to second in the championship behind P G Anderson, and he's now six points off the pace heading to the next round, Wales Rally GB, from September 13-16.

"It is bitterly disappointing especially after how good the car was feeling and how easily the times were coming," said Paddon.

"We certainly had a lot in reserve as we got more used to the car and this is something encouraging to take forward as we now look toward our next round."

Dixon on fire

New Zealand's IndyCar racer Scott Dixon's season continues to yo-yo between feast and famine. After his disappointing race in Edmonton, Canada, he scored his fourth win at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio in six starts. "Huge credit to the team, that pit stop was fantastic. That got me in front," said Dixon. "What a fantastic day, that puts us back in the hunt."

Dixon has moved to within 28 points of series leader Will Power, with three races to go, at GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, on August 26.

Van Gisbergen in fifth place

A brace of sevenths at the Paperclip in Queensland over the weekend means New Zealand V8 Supercars driver Shane van Gisbergen holds on to fifth in the championship, now 324 points off Craig Lowndes.

Fellow Kiwi racer Fabian Coulthard is having his best season in V8 Supercars, having climbed to eighth in the championship after a pair of top-five finishes - fifth and fourth. The series heads to the Sydney MotorSport Park 360 on August 25-26.

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