Hayden Paddon has redoubled his efforts to return to the FIA World Rally Championship following his crushing setback at Neste Rally Finland earlier this month.
Paddon was ruled out of round nine by a pre-event test crash in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta World Rally Car three days before the start. That disappointment hasn’t dimmed his determination to be back as soon as possible.
The Kiwi flew from Finland to another series of meetings in New Zealand. He admitted he was faced with a difficult decision about staying to complete the recce, but decided to focus his efforts on getting back into competition quickly.
Paddon said: “I planned to do the recce, but there was a chance to sit down with people at home to talk about options so I had to jump on a plane.
“I’m working flat-out to put a package together to be back with M-Sport and back in the Fiesta. I will drive anywhere, on any rally for the rest of the year. I just want the opportunity to show what I can do.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to be there. I got close in Finland and it hurt really badly that it ended the way it did. That’s not going to be the end of my time in the WRC. I’ve still got a lot of years left in me and, like I said before Finland, I honestly believe I’ve never driven better or been in better shape than right now.”
Paddon remains firmly on M-Sport’s radar and team principal Rich Millener confirmed discussions were ongoing.
“We were massively disappointed for Hayden and John (Kennard, co-driver), the way they put everything together was really impressive. We want to help, but the simple fact is that we’d need some budget to be able to get him back in the car.”
Rumours suggest Rally Turkey (12 - 15 September) could be an option for Paddon but nothing has been confirmed.