The 23-year-old finished third in his debut season of the PWRC last year, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X run by Ralliart Italy. This year, he switches to a 2011-specification Group N Subaru that will be run by Belgian team Symtech Racing under the newly-formed New Zealand World Rally Team banner.
“We were offered an opportunity to run with Ralliart Italy again this year in a Mitsubishi, but after being approached by a Subaru representative, we decided to make the change as we feel that there are greater future possibilities with Subaru,” said Paddon.
“The move to Subaru will be a big change for us, especially considering how much we have achieved in a series of Mitsubishis. In saying that, I am confident that driving the Subaru will give us a better chance of winning the championship as they are very strong, well balanced cars. At the end of the day, as long as it has four wheels and a steering wheel, I’m happy! As a youngster I was always a huge Subaru fan, and now to get a chance to drive one in world competition fulfils a childhood dream.”
Paddon’s programme this year will take in the rallies of Portugal, Argentina, Finland, Australia, Spain and Great Britain. The New Zealander will have his first taste of the Subaru that he will drive during a two-day test immediately before Rally Portugal.
Paddon has tipped the PWRC competition this year to be even harder than last year. “As we found out last year, there is simply no room for error at this level,” he added. “Where we had three or four teams fighting for victory last year, I feel the number of potential victors will double this year.”