Friday | 15 Mar 2019

Paddon eyes WRC return in 2020

Hayden Paddon insists he is ready and waiting for an opportunity to return to the WRC and believes the 2020 season could provide his best chance.

The New Zealander was ousted from Hyundai Motorsport’s WRC line-up at the end of 2018 when it signed nine-time champion Sébastien Loeb to a part programme in its third i20 WRC.

That’s meant Paddon, who has one WRC victory to his credit after heading the field at YPF Rally Argentina in 2016, has been forced to watch the first three rallies of the new season from the sidelines.

But the 31-year-old hasn’t given up on his WRC dream and insists he’s ready to return to the series at the earliest opportunity.

“It’s certainly not a closed door and we will keep trying to get back into the WRC in the future,” said Paddon, who finished second on his final WRC appearance at last season’s Kennards Hire Rally Australia.

“At this early stage, I would say 2020 would be our most realistic chance, but never say never.”

Paddon has outlined his competitive calendar for the forthcoming season and he’s confident his mix of NZ Rally Championship, rallycross and hillclimb events will allow him to stay sharp and react quickly should a WRC recall come his way.

He said: “We will still be doing plenty of driving this year, and I am increasing my training and preparations to ensure I’m 110% ready in the event we get an opportunity. Even if its tomorrow – I am ready!”


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