WRC star Hayden Paddon will contest five rallies in New Zealand in 2018 as well as the seven world championship events on the sport's biggest stage.

The factory Hyundai driver will share the third i20 with Dani Sordo in this year's world championship. To keep up his seat time and form Paddon will take part in five of the six rounds of the domestic New Zealand Rally Championship.

"What's really important is that I get seat time and I'm out driving in the gaps between rounds of the world championship," Paddon told Motorsport News.

"I'm going to do five events in New Zealand in my i20. That'll help keep me sharp. It's not ideal, but it's driving and that's what I need."


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Paddon will be at the NZRC season-opening Rally Otago in April before the International Rally of Whangarei in May.

He will compete in the South Canterbury Rally in June, which has great importance to the 30-year-old having grown up on those roads.

Paddon is likely to miss Rally Coromandel in August as it clashes with Rally Germany but will return for Rally New Zealand in October.

Having dominated the 2017 Rally New Zealand event, where he won every single stage, it is quite possible Paddon could win the championship despite missing a round.

While he's disappointed to be doing only a half campaign at WRC level Paddon is optimistic of good results. By sitting out many of the early season events, where Spaniard Sordo will get the car, he should get an advantage over some of his championship rivals.

"On the positive side, I should have a good road position when it comes to Portugal, so we'll have to make the most of that," he said.

Paddon will compete in Rally Sweden in February after sitting out next week's Rally Monte Carlo.