Sun 24 Mar 2024

Moments that made ERC 2023 great: Paddon the champion despite Czech wreck

Hayden Paddon won the FIA European Rally Championship for 2023 despite his dramatic exit from Barum Czech Rally Zlín last August.

Pirelli-equipped Paddon was in fifth position and cruising to the coveted FIA title for BRC Racing Team when he stopped nine kilometres from the start of the 16.69km Halenkovice test with the right-rear wheel missing from his Hyundai i20 N Rally2.   

He’d run wide on a high-speed left-hander, swiped a tree and parked up a few hundred metres later, his challenge over.

But with Paddon’s closest championship rival Mārtiṇš Sesks unable to secure the points he needed to keep the title fight alive until the Rally Hungary finale, New Zealander Paddon was able to celebrate becoming the first non-European to lift the ERC crown alongside his co-driver John Kennard.  

“It’s a strange way to win it today with the troubles we’ve had but we’re hugely proud of what we’ve done with the team,” Paddon said. “We’ve had six good rallies and one bad one. All in all, it’s been a very good season and it’s something for us to build on for the future.

“I’ve loved our time in the ERC this year. A real mixture of events, lots of challenges and the competition over here is huge. I think it’s one of the best rally championships in the world and hopefully we can be a part of it in the future as well.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM