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Paddon out to enjoy the drive in Northland

NZN 27/04/2016

Hayden Paddon will be back in competitive action less than a week after his history-making win in a World Rally Championship event, but in a more relaxed mode.

The Hyundai driver became the first New Zealander to take out a WRC round with his victory in Argentina.

He and co-driver John Kennard wasted little time in returning to New Zealand for this weekend's Rally Whangarei, which runs from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.

Paddon says the Northland event is a chance for him to take a breather from the pressures of the WRC.

"It's just important to relax," he said.

"It's really nice to come back and do these New Zealand rallies. You can relax and enjoy the drive. It reminds you why you love the sport."

The 29-year-old from Geraldine said the WRC was his dream and what he loved doing.

"But when you're in the heat of battle and you're at that level, the pressure is so high that it takes a little bit of the fun aspect away," he said.

"Coming back to these events gives you that refresher."

Rally Whangarei is part of the NZ Rally Championship, which Paddon leads after winning the opening round in dominant style in April.

His margin of victory in Rally Otago was nine minutes and 22 seconds, a record for an NZ championship event.

The next WRC round is in Portugal in May and Paddon will go into that competition second on the points table behind three-time world champion Sebastien Ogier of France.

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