Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard will compete together in their 100th event at this week's Rally Spain but the pair knows the time is coming when the partnership will finally end.

Veteran co-driver Kennard has been with Paddon since 2006 when the Hyundai works driver was still a teenager. He has helped Paddon to back-to-back New Zealand Rally Championships, become the youngest ever Production Class World Champion and eventually into a factory drive with Hyundai that saw him win a maiden WRC event in Argentina earlier this year.

But Kennard is 55 and has interests outside of the sport and his young driver knows that.

"Unfortunately there will come a time where change will have to happen because we are not getting any younger," Paddon tells "I hope to be in the sport for a long time yet.


"When that day will come I'm not really sure just yet. Everything is working in the meantime so we will make the most of it."

Paddon always refers to the pair as a combination. He doesn't talk of 'his success' in Argentina but rather 'our success.' He knows the significant contribution Kennard has had on his rise up the ranks.

"It is a big team sport," the 29-year-old Paddon says. "The trust is a huge factor; the trust we have in each other not to put foot round.

"We have been together for 11 years now so we have built a very good relationship and we are just as driven as each other."

The Spanish mixed-surface roads where the occasion will be marked also have significance for the pair.

"It's a special event as this is where we debuted in a WRC car three years ago. It's also the rally on which we won our first stage in WRC [in 2014] so John and I have many good memories here," says Paddon.

"I really enjoy that it's the only mixed surface event on the calendar. Naturally I enjoy the day one gravel stages, but the tarmac stages here are some of the nicest in the world. They're as close as you get to circuit racing in rallying.

"It's good that the rally starts with gravel. Hopefully this will allow us to build some momentum and go into the weekend's tarmac stages with good confidence. We had a really good test on gravel last week so hopefully we can make the most of that."