Local drivers tested their mettle against some of the world’s best during last week’s Winmax Brake Pads Motorsport NZ Goldstar Hillclimb Championships, and came out shining.

Hayden Paddon returned from his recent victory in the opening round of the 2023 FIA European Rally Championship in Portugal to compete in the single-round grassroots event near Lawrence, against an enthusiastic local contingent, peppered with big name drivers.

The six-times New Zealand Rally champion could only manage the third-fastest run on the tarmac of day one’s Tuapeka West Rd, then overcame a blown turbo on day two’s gravel to emerge victorious overall.

Local drivers performed well in the divisional champs.

Third in D class was Paul Goatley; first in C class, Chris Hey; third in C class, Barry Mills; and first in B class was Thomas Paul.

Host club South Otago Car Club spokeswoman Jane Blair said the event had exceeded expectations, attracting a strong field of 44 drivers.

‘‘We had one roll into a paddock on day one, but no injuries, and some highly competitive racing as you can see from the results.

‘‘Once again we’ve shown that South Otago has some of the best roads anywhere for hosting top motorsport events like this.’’