Motorsport: Paddon to contest events back home in 2017

By Dale Budge

Hayden Paddon during Day Two of the WRC France. Photo / Getty Images
Hayden Paddon during Day Two of the WRC France. Photo / Getty Images

Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon is keen to contest a number of rounds of the New Zealand Rally Championship next year but will need to rely on his international and domestic calendars to be in-sync.

The Hyundai driver is currently fourth in the World Rally Championship and he is already booked in for a full season driving for the factory team in next season's world championship but he is hoping domestic organisers are able to set their calendar to avoid clashes with the WRC.

That would pave the way for the 29-year-old to drive the Hyundai NZ AP4 rally car that Paddon launched this year at a couple of domestic events.

"I will definitely be back," Paddon tells herald.co.nz. "It is a big investment Hyundai NZ has made in that project.

"This year was just the start. We are going to build on that next year.
"It is exciting - I'm looking forward to being involved.

"We are hoping it will fit in. I'm sure once the WRC calendar is finalised the coordinators might make sure it fits in.

"We hope to do a couple of rallies here next year and if that NZ Rally calendar does fit with us I will definitely be here doing it."

Hyundai NZ helped build an AP4 i20 that Paddon used in Rally Otago and Rally Whangarei this year - one of a handful of new AP4 style cars that proved a big hit in this year's championship.

Yesterday Paddon and Hyundai NZ launched the Young Driver Shootout and Scholarship with the winner getting the opportunity to drive the AP4 Hyundai i20 in two rounds of the New Zealand Rally Championship next year.

Paddon has been pushing New Zealand's case for a return to the World Rally Championship in 2018 and is very excited about the famous event returning to the domestic scene next season - to be staged out of Tauranga for the first time.

He says he will do his best to come home to compete in that event as it is essentially a dry run for a likely WRC return the following year.

"It will be very important not just for the rally next year but if the WRC does return here in 2018. I have never done the stages in Coromandel, Tauranga and Rotorua in my career so it will give us a good chance when the WRC event is here."

- NZ Herald

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