Paddon signs with Hyundai New Zealand

Hayden Paddon.
Hayden Paddon.
Hayden Paddon has signed with Hyundai New Zealand for this year.

Paddon will race in three New Zealand events before joining the Global Rallycross series in Europe this year.

He will represent Hyundai alongside his currently six-strong Paddon Rallysport crew, which is now based in its new facility in Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell.

That comes after he did not receive a World Rally Championship (WRC) contract this year.

Nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb was signed by Hyundai Motorsport for the series instead.

Paddon was glad to continue his partnership with the New Zealand-owned branch of the brand.

''I'm incredibly proud to be part of the Hyundai New Zealand family,'' he said.

''Without the Hyundai New Zealand team, we would never have made it into the World Rally Championship initially and then achieved what we have done so far.''

He will enter April's Rally Otago, alongside co-driver John Kennard.

Meanwhile, he will also race the International Rally of Whangarei and his home event, the South Canterbury Rally.

He will return in September to race the Ashley Forest Rallysprint as well as several other local races.

Paddon said he was continuing to seek other options to contest the World Rally Championship in either a WRC or an R5-spec car.

''While we would obviously still like to be in the WRC, that was a decision that was outside our control.

''The team at Hyundai New Zealand have been nothing but supportive, and that's something I will never turn my back on.

''We have certainly not given up on the ultimate goal of being back in the WRC.''

He was continuing his training to make sure he was ready to compete at the highest level should the opportunity arise.

''Physical fitness and mental training, driving practice during our 2019 season and pace notes are all aspects of my sport that I continue to work on and improve.

''So if there is a chance to compete in WRC events, we will prove once and for all that we do belong there.''

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