Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon has selected Mt Maunganui’s David Holder as his protégé to be mentored and guided to future success in the sport of rallying.
Paddon, who became the production world rally champion at the age of 24, has been considering how he and the directors of his management company, Hayden Paddon RallySport Global, can help promote and develop the careers of selected young Kiwi rally drivers.
Paddon has now decided to mentor 23-year-old Holder, offering the passionate young driver the benefit of his own experience and success in national and international competition.
“We have been very fortunate that a lot of people have helped us to get where we are today,” says Paddon. “We still have a long way to go in world rallying and are fully focused on that, but I also enjoy helping where I can and hope to continue to help the growth of New Zealand rallying.
“I have been impressed by David’s speed and commitment, and we believe that David has huge potential to well in the sport, with the World Rally Championship within his reach.
“While HPRG is not in a position to help financially, we will help by giving advice and passing on the things that we have learnt, from driving training, promotion, media, and other aspects away from competition that will help fast forward his learning and experience. Our crew from the New Zealand World Rally Team and I are excited to be involved with a great talent.”
Holder is currently competing in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, powered by Brother (NZRC), in a 1600cc two-wheel-drive (2WD) Toyota Levin. He leads both the rookie and open 2WD categories going into round four, next week’s Brother Rally New Zealand.
Counting this year’s three NZRC events Holder has competed in just nine rallies in his career thus far. This limited experience hasn’t slowed his progress and he has been the pace-setting 2WD driver on several events, surprising many with his ability to learn and adapt quickly.
“I’m stoked to be chosen by Hayden! I’m really excited to get this opportunity and very humbled that he has chosen me,” says Holder. “Having Hayden’s support is definitely going to be a huge help and being able to draw on his vast experience and advice, will without doubt be beneficial in ensuring I reach the top level in rallying. I’m extremely grateful and look forward to working with him to learn more.”
Holder’s plans for the future are lofty – he aims to be competing in the FIA WRC Academy within two years. The 2WD academy is one of the feeder series to the main World Rally Championship and is focused on drivers under 25 years of age. The winner’s prize is a fully paid drive in the higher level SWRC for the following year.
“I’d love to be competing in the academy next year,” says Holder. “But realistically we need to look at budget, and another year in the NZRC would be beneficial in terms of experience, building our profile and commercial partnerships.
“We’ll look at upgrading our car to run a 2WD Ford Fiesta in the Fiesta Sporting Trophy section of the NZRC for 2013 then at making the academy in 2014.”
Next week, both Paddon and Holder will contest Brother Rally New Zealand, running 21 to 24 June. While Paddon competes in the main event, Holder, with his older brother James as co-driver, tackles exactly the same rally route as part of the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally field for drivers with vehicles that are not FIA-homologated.
Hayden Paddon RallySport shares news, images and results via the team’s website www.haydenpaddon.com where fans can also subscribe for regular email updates and find links to the team’s Twitter and Facebook pages.
Holder Brothers Racing is supported by Stella Traffic. Follow their progress on www.holderbrothersracing.com.
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