New Zealand rally star Hayden Paddon may not be back racing in the World Rally Championship just yet but he is by no means resting on his laurels.
The flying Kiwi has been busy this year racing in the New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC), the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and possibly two events in Australia.
On top of that, Paddon has been signed to race in the new FIA-affiliated TitansRX European Rallycross series starting this weekend at Circuit d'Essay, west of Paris, France.
It'll be an eye-opener for the Central Otago-based driver. It'll be the first time he has raced with other drivers on the same piece of dirt with no one else in the car but himself.
"The European Global Rally Cross six-round series will help keep my name in Europe. It's very easy to get lost being in New Zealand," said Paddon.
"It's not the only reason, though. It'll be lots of fun racing a high horsepower car in an arena-type venue.
"It'll also help me develop my driving in a way, as you can never have too many tools in the tool box.
"The new thing for me will be having to race other drivers. There might be a bit of door handle banging as well. Whenever I go karting with my mates, it sometimes ends in tears, as if I see a gap half the size of the kart, I still go for it.
"I'll also be keeping my foot in the door in an effort to get back into the WRC."
All 12 drivers are in identical PanetraRX6 cars and all have a considerable amount more experience in these cars and this format than Paddon. He's not fazed by this, though, and is hoping his natural competitiveness will keep him at the pointy end of the field.
He tested with a few other drivers at Fuglau, Austria, in May and was impressed at how easy the car was to drive, how agile it was and that it had a decent amount of horsepower.
"It's a very competitive field, so it will be tough. I'm hoping it's something I can learn and pick up on quickly, but essentially, I'm going in with zero expectations and just see how it pans out.
"I'm sure it will be a lot of fun. It will be interesting racing five other cars at the same time in the short rallycross races, and of course I'll be driving as hard and fast as I can," he said.