National rally stars Hayden Paddon and John Kennard scored an emphatic win in their Hyundai i20 AP4 car at the opening round of the 2019 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, which was contested for the first time in New Zealand’s South Island.

Paddon finished over seven minutes ahead of the second fastest team to claim a seventh victory at his home event, also taking maximum points towards the international 2019 FIA APRC title. The former WRC driver won fourteen out of the fifteen special stages, leaving just one scratch time to Jack Hawkeswood.

Teams need to enter two events in their qualifying region – Asia or Pacific – to be eligible for the overall title at the winner-takes-all-final in China on 26-27 October.

Behind Paddon-Kennard were the father-son cars of Andrew Hawkeswood/Jeff Cress and Jack Hawkeswood/Alex Parkin, both crews driving a Mazda 2 in AP4-specifications.

David Holder and Jason Farmer missed out on points, with a fuel problem in their Holden Barina AP4 sidelining them early on the Sunday morning.

The second of four FIA APRC Pacific Cup rounds will be held near the top of New Zealand’s North Island – the ENEOS International Rally of Whangarei from 3 to 5 May 2019, while the first of four FIA APRC Asia Cup events will take place on June 6-9 in Japan.

Check out the photo gallery. The provisional FIA Asia Pacific standings can be viewed here.




In Italy, it was the opening round of the FIA European Rally Trophy Alpine series as well as the third round of the FIA R-GT Cup on Rally Sanremo, in the North-West of the country.

Ireland’s rally ace Craig Breen, navigated by Paul Nagle, claimed the victory on the event’s 66th edition with a Škoda Fabia R5, 4.3 seconds ahead of the Italian-Swiss crew of Simone Campedelli and Tania Canton at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5. Giandomenico Basso and Lorenzo Granai took third place on the Italian classic event with a Škoda Fabia R5.

Breen set off in the afternoon of the final leg from the Sanremo seafront with the provisional second place, eleven seconds behind Campedelli, who had been at the top of the overall standings from SS3 on Friday. But the Irishman was on a mission, scoring a remarkable fastest stage time of 21’13 ”5 in the tenth and final test “Testico-Colle d’Oggia” – fifteen seconds and three tenths faster than his direct rival – to snatch the victory from the hands of the Italian, who settled for a second place. Basso finished third about half a minute behind.

In the FIA R-GT Cup, Italy’s Enrico Brazzoli and Manuel Fenoli drove their Abarth 124 RGT to victory despite unfavourable conditions, hence consolidating their lead in the championship after three rounds.

The FIA ERT Alpine action will move to France for the next round, with Rally Ain Jura on May 10-12, before the final round of the Alpine series, Rallye du Chablais, a few weeks later in Switzerland.

On the R-GT calendar, the 45th INA Delta Rally will host the fourth round of the championship in Zagreb, Croatia.

Take a look at the Rally Sanremo’s event photos. The provisional FIA ERT standings can be accessed here and the FIA R-GT Cup standings here.




On Rally Montañas, 7-time FIA NACAM champion Ricardo Triviño from Mexico, navigated by his Spanish co-driver Marc Marti, once again demonstrated his talent by claiming a smashing victory on his home event. The Škoda Fabia R5 driver crossed the finish line with a lead of +2min 41.8 seconds ahead of his fellow citizens Ricardo Cordero Jr and Marco Hernández in a Citroën DS3 R5. Another Mexican crew stepped onto the podium’s third place with Javier Ortuño and Lorenzo Goicoechea in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, with a ten-minute gap to the rally winners.

After two rounds on Mexican soil, the FIA NACAM Rally Championship will move to higher latitudes for the third stop of the series, Rallye Baie des Chaleurs in Québec, Canada, on the last weekend of June.

Check out the photo gallery. The provisional FIA NACAM Rally Championship results can be consulted here.




After a break this weekend on the regional championships’ calendars, the rally action will resume on April 26 with three events: Rally Jordan (round 2 of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship), York Timbers in South Africa (round 2 of the FIA African Rally Championship) and the Pirelli Rally in Great-Britain (round 2 of the FIA European Rally Trophy Celtic). Stay tuned!