Norway's Andreas Mikkelsen has signed a two-year contract to drive with the Hyundai works team in the World Rally Championship.

Mikkelsen will compete at each round of the championship over the next two seasons.

It leaves Kiwi Hayden Paddon in a delicate position. Paddon has a contract with Hyundai along with Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo for next year but the team is likely to enter only three cars at each event. It has been suggested Paddon and Sordo will share a car with the Spaniard contesting the tarmac events and Paddon the gravel ones.

Paddon has not responded at this point.


Meanwhile Mikkelsen's signing was on the cards after he agreed to drive with the Korean manufacturer for the final three rounds of 2017.

He was left without a fulltime drive late last year when Volkswagen surprisingly announced their immediate exit from the sport. He had a handful of drives with Citroen this year before agreeing to terms with Hyundai.

"I am delighted that Hyundai Motorsport has offered me the chance to return to the WRC with a full-time seat for 2018 and 2019," Mikkelsen said.

"Even before my first rally with the team, I feel that I have settled in quickly, and it is clear to me that I am joining a world-class team with realistic chances of fighting for both Drivers' and Manufacturers' championships. I look forward to helping to achieve these goals from Rallye Monte-Carlo next year, and making my own presence felt in the drivers' title fight."

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: "Andreas is one of those rally drivers who fits in quickly and just gets straight down to business. From the few times he has already been to visit the factory in Alzenau, his determination and professionalism have shone through. We are pleased to have him on board in a full-time capacity for two complete seasons. He has already had the chance to experience the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in testing, and has delivered us positive and useful feedback. He has also driven our i20 R5, which has further allowed him to integrate into all areas of our team. We can't wait to see him in action as a Hyundai Motorsport driver in the final three events of the season, into next year and beyond."