Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon will be driving with an eye to his future this weekend at the latest round of the World Rally Championship in Sardinia.

The 31-year-old Paddon is off-contract with Hyundai at the end of the season and contract negotiations generally start to take place from Rally Finland onwards – at the end of next month.

So Sardinia is essentially Paddon's best chance to showcase his talents to his current team and rival brands as he looks to secure a new deal.

After a disappointing year in 2017 Paddon has looked more like his old self in 2018. He has dominated two domestic rallies, banked a solid result first up in the WRC in Sweden and crashed out of Rally Portugal last month while leading the event.


The crash had some mitigating circumstances with Paddon having to avoid a rock that had been swept onto the road.

So while a good result went begging his outright speed was impressive and teams will have picked up on that.

But Paddon needs a strong result and a finish at Sardinia becomes the primary goal so he has something to bring to the negotiating table.

"I think in Sardinia we have to be a little more on the cautious side just because of the character of the rally – it has one of the highest attrition rates in terms of the European rallies so we have to factor that in," Paddon told The Herald.

"It is the most technical gravel rally we do. As we saw last year – the room for error here is minimal.

"It is a very tough rally, always quite hot and hard on the car – it is a challenge but if you can pull it off come Sunday afternoon is it very rewarding."

"Sardinia and Portugal as a combination have been very poor for last two or three years for us so we need to set that record straight. It is important we finish at Sardinia.

"The attrition rate plus our good road position should make a strong result possible for us."