Hayden Paddon will continue with his new co-driver Sebastian Marshall for all future WRC events following an agreement between Paddon and long-time co-driver John Kennard.
Kennard [above] was scheduled to conclude his competitive career alongside Paddon at Neste Rally Finland, but Marshall was drafted in early at Vodafone Rally de Portugal after Kennard was ruled out due to a hip injury.
Kennard confirmed that his hip will not recover in time for the next event in Sardinia, and with just two more rallies before Marshall's planned takeover, he felt it would be best for Paddon to continue with Marshall.
Kennard said: “Unfortunately my hip’s condition still won’t allow me to take on the rough gravel of Sardinia and while I’d dearly love to get back in the car to finish my WRC career with Hayden in Poland and Finland, it really wouldn’t make any sense.
"We’ve had a terrible start to the year, so it’s most important to grab some positivity and move forward in the last half of the season. We’ve already seen a spark of that with Hayden and Seb in Portugal, so I’m sure by staying together they can keep it going and they’ll be back on the podium very soon, where I’ll be with them in spirit.”
“It’s not an easy decision,” said Paddon, “but it’s something we all feel is best for the future and something that John is very supportive of and recommends himself.”
“As we’ve said all along, even though he won’t be in the car, John continues to play an important role in our World Rally Championship programme. John will be at all WRC events this year, supporting us on the gravel rallies and helping us as our gravel crew on the tarmac rallies."
And Kennard already has one non-championship event lined up. He will be back alongside Paddon in August, when they will drive Hyundai's i20 AP4+ car at the Coromandel round of the New Zealand Rally Championship.
“We’re also looking forward to a special send-off at Rally Finland, an event that has special relevance and importance to John’s career,” said Paddon.