Thursday | 07 Apr 2016

Paddon back home for Hyundai debut

Hayden Paddon returns to his native New Zealand this weekend to debut the new Hyundai i20 AP4 car at Rally Otago (8 - 10 April).

He takes a break from WRC activities to contest the first of two New Zealand Rally Championship rounds in the 1.8-litre turbocharged i20, which has been developed to Asia Pacific regulations.  

Paddon, fifth in the WRC after three rounds, is top seed for the two-day gravel event in New Zealand’s South Island and said the rally was one of his favourites.

“There are more public road stages this year, not so many forestry stages and quite a lot of stages we haven’t done before so it’s always nice to add the challenges of new stages to an event we know well,” he said.

The schedule to complete the i20 has been tight for the newly-formed Hyundai New Zealand Rally Team.

Paddon lies fifth in the WRC standings

“We’ve had only one small test last week so there will be a lot of development work happening throughout the rally. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep on top of the small problems which are sure to eventuate with a brand-new car fresh out of the box.

“At the moment, results aren’t important for us here. It’s about going out and doing our thing and enjoying ourselves. From a personal perspective, we don’t have to prove anything. We’re here to help this project for the long term,” added Paddon, who won the rally last year in a historic class Ford Escort.

The rally features 17 stages covering 273km and to mark its 40th anniversary each test has been named after legendary competitors who have contested the event. Former WRC champions honoured include Didier Auriol, Hannu Mikkola, Miki Biasion, Juha Kankkunen, Ari Vatanen and Bjorn Waldegård.  

Ex-Ford and Peugeot WRC works driver Markko Märtin heads the entry in the classic section in an Escort RS1800. 

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