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GP Week : Issue 159
37 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: New Zealander Hayden Paddon won the SWRC category, the only driver in that class to complete the route, while the two official rival Proton cars, which normally run rallies in the Asia-Pacific series, suffered disastrous troubles on every day. Per-Gunnar Andersson led the category at the start of the rally but then he went off the road and then it was Paddon all the way from Stage 3 to the finish over a half hour ahead of Andersson in second place with Maciej Oleksowicz’s Fiesta third. Yazeed Al Rajhi finished fourth and last in his 1.6 turbo car, after an eventful rally in which he completed only 13 of the 22 stages. With only five competitors on this event, championship points were available for everyone who finished, particularly galling for Andersson’s teammate Alister McRae whose car had a clutch-release bearing fail on the final day which meant he was unable to appear at the finish. Paddon now leads the SWRC series from the absent Craig Breen, who is now equal in second place with Andersson. After a long period of misfortune, both in the WRC and also in his national championship where he runs the Chevrolet Agile Maxi Rally team, Argentine Subaru driver Marcos Ligato won the PCWRC category. Most of his rivals in the series opted not to contest this round so Ligato’s main opposition was expected to be the Ukrainian Mitsubishi team (Gorban and Kikireshko) with their old Evo IXs. By mid event however there was a most surprising challenge in the form of the Swedish lady driver Ramona Karlsson who after misfortunes earlier in the season was lying second – and on Stages 3 and 4 made fastest stage time in the category. The “Power of Powder” rally team had already created a lot of interest, not the least as this was the first time both lady PCWRC drivers had competed against each other, but then came the story of her retirement on the final stage of Day 2 when her car caught fire. Louise Cook meanwhile had rented a local car in order to contest the event and drove steadily to the finish. Behind category winner Paddon at the finish was the Indonesian driver Subhan Aksa in front of Mexican Ricardo Trivino, both in Evo Xs. Ligato had paced himself, not caring about the battling local Group N drivers ahead, led by Richard Mason’s Subaru. In the PCWRC series Benito Guerra, who did not compete here, retained his lead by ten points from Gorban. RALLY >>> NEW ZEALAND PCWRC to ... Ligato Home win in Super 2000