Hayden Paddon has continued his winning pace through the Bay of Plenty special stages of Rally New Zealand this morning to further extend his commanding lead in the two-day event.

The Hyundai World Rally Championship driver has been fastest in each of the three Sunday morning stages and now leads the rally by more than six minutes. The final loop of three afternoon stages is set to begin at 1.47pm.

Paddon has dominated the event from start on Saturday morning and has been fastest on all of the nine special stages so far.

Behind Paddon there have been several changes on the leaderboard among the drivers battling for New Zealand Rally Championship success.


Rangiora's Matt Summerfield (Subaru Impreza) has been showing good pace today and has moved ahead of national championship points leader Andrew Hawkeswood (Auckland) to take second place.

Summerfield trails Paddon by 6m 10.2s and returned to the ASB Baypark Stadium service park at lunchtime with a slim 8.9s advantage ahead of Hawkeswood (Mazda2 AP4).

Te Aroha's Graham Featherstone (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo7), who held fourth place overnight, has put his Mitsubishi Lancer off the road in the Mangatoi Rd/Mountain Rd stage that was the final stage of the morning loop.

Featherstone's retirement moves Mount Maunganui's David Holder (Holden Barina AP4) up to fourth place and Dunedin's Emma Gilmour (Suzuki Swift AP4) is now running in fifth position.

The early leader of the Tauranga Clubmans and Novice Rally which is running immediately behind the national event is Tauranga's Mitch James and Venita Fabbro in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9. They hold a lead of 45.9s over Hamilton's Stephen Barker (Subaru Impreza WRX).

The Sunday afternoon loop takes the rally field back through the Manawahe Rd, TECT All Terrain Park and Mangatoi Rd/Mountain Rd stages before the finish ceremony at ASB Baypark Stadium at 4.08pm.