Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon faces a make or break season in the World Rally Championship and the New Zealander is promising to take a self-first approach to success this season.

The 30-year-old had his WRC campaign cut in half by factory outfit Hyundai this year, meaning he will compete in only seven events.

He knocked back an offer to compete in the World Rallycross Championship and is instead going all out to prove himself at the top level and earn a new WRC contract for 2019 and beyond.

"At the end of the day, I feel a lot more relaxed this year," Paddon told the Weekend Herald. "The attitude we are going out with is that we are going out with nothing to lose.


"Obviously we have a job to do for the team but we are not going to be just mucking around at the back of the field focusing on picking up points. We are there to drive for ourselves this year, to prove ourselves and get ourselves back up to where we need to be and that is fighting at the front on all the rallies we are doing.

"Podium is a minimum and of course we would like to repeat Argentina [his maiden WRC rally win] from 2016, which we know we are capable of.

"We are taking a different approach this year and focusing on ourselves and our future and where that could be is anyone's guess at this point."

He was approached to enter some World Rallycross events this year - alongside former WRC stars such as Petter Solberg, Sebastien Loeb and Alister McRae - but decided to focus on his WRC dreams.

"There was an offer to do some rallycross in the World Rallycross Championship this year but that is not the focus at the moment," he said.

"The focus is on rally - this year is a pretty important year for us. It is literally a make or break year for us, so that is where we stay 100 per cent focused for the time being."

Although now isn't the right time, Paddon admits the idea of competing in the World Rallycross Championship is appealing.

"My life is motorsport, so with or without WRC I don't see that changing. After life in the WRC I would like to be looking at some other things.

"With what has been going on this month, Dakar is pretty high up the list. World Rallycross is forever gaining traction, so to be in some sort of international motorsport would still be the goal."

Outside of his seven WRC events, Paddon will spend more time at home competing in the New Zealand Rally Championship. He confirmed he will be at five of the six rounds because that will help him be in better shape for his WRC events.

"It is important that we are still driving and doing miles no matter what the event or car," he said.

Paddon's first WRC event will be round two in Sweden next month.