Kiwi international rallying star Hayden Paddon claimed victory at Rally Coromandel Saturday to secure his fourth national championship with a round remaining in the season.
The 31-year-old Hyundai WRC driver had to work hard for his fourth successive win in this year's championship, battling a turbo hose issue most of the day, before eventually claimed victory by 18.7 seconds.
Having previously won three championships in his formative years prior to establishing himself as a WRC regular, Paddon completed a dominant championship charge to take an unassailable lead in the six-round championship with one round to go and having missed a round while he was competing in Europe.
"It is obviously great to wrap it up but it was a pretty difficult day," Paddon said. "To keep blowing the turbo hoses off on three stages so we had to work for it.
"It is good for the team; good for the boys and good for Hyundai."
Subaru driver Ben Hunt took an impressive second place, underlining his strong pace in the 2018 championship. An engine failure at Rally Canterbury and an electrical issue at South Canterbury prevented him from taking the challenge to Paddon.
Dylan Turner finished third in his Audi S1 while Matt Summerfield was fourth in his Mitsubishi Mirage.
Two-time defending Coromandel champ Brendan Reeves battled minor car trouble throughout the day and ruined any chance the Australian had of going toe to toe with Paddon at the front of the field.
Phil Campbell produced a superb drive to finish sixth in his Ford Fiesta AP4's second NZRC event while Grant Blackberry was seventh in an older generation Mitsubishi EVO 10 and Raana Horan completing the top eight in his Skoda Fabia R5's NZRC debut.
The series finishes at the Raglan Rally of the Coast in October.