Paddon reinstated to Hyundai team; 'can't wait' for Rally GB

Hayden Paddon.
Hayden Paddon.
After missing a World Rally Championship (WRC) round earlier this month, Hayden Paddon is back on board with Hyundai Motorsport, as the team fields a four-car entry in Wales Rally GB this week.

Paddon and British co-driver Seb Marshall rejoin the team for the penultimate event in the 2017 WRC and the final round in Europe. They are among Hyundai's three, point-scoring teams, along with Belgian Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen, of Norway.

Following a series of disappointing events, the team is focused on securing a strong result on the Welsh gravel roads, consequently leaving tarmac-specialist Spaniard Dani Sordo driving the fourth car but ineligible to score Manufacturer Championship points.

''Hopefully we can put together a good result and build up to a positive conclusion to what has been a tough season,'' Paddon said.

He has recently returned to Europe after a month-long break back in New Zealand, where he competed in the national championship Rally Coromandel and the Ashley Forest Rallysprint. Putting the disappointment of being dropped by Hyundai for the Spanish WRC round three weeks ago behind him, he is looking to end the 2017 season in competitive form.

''It's Rally GB week and I can't wait to get back in the car - [it] has felt like a long time. Naturally the goal is always for a good result, but more importantly this week is about enjoying the rally and driving,'' Paddon said on Facebook yesterday.

He has taken top-five finishes in Wales in the past two seasons, and will be aiming to fight for his second podium of 2017 after finishing second in Poland back in July. The similarity of Wales' muddy, forestry stages to New Zealand's roads will favour the Kiwi driver.

''Wales Rally GB is an iconic rally with plenty of driving challenges. The event has always been run late in the season, so we can expect some rain and potentially foggy conditions. In many ways, it is like being back home in New Zealand. There are some very nice, fast stages, and it is a rally I enjoy,'' Paddon said.

Hyundai Motorsport's crews have prepared for the rally by testing the latest specification Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC on the Welsh roads last week.

Run over 21 special stages and a distance of 304.36km, Wales Rally GB begins on Friday, before a long, 12-hour day of rallying on Saturday and a final five stages on Sunday.

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