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Hayden Paddon

Driver profile

Career Summary


Nationality:  NZL
Date of Birth: 20.04.1987
Age: 29
Birthplace: Geraldine
First Rally: 2007, Great Britain
Rally Wins: 1
Website: www.haydenpaddon.com

Season 2016

Classification: WRC
Car No: 0, 0
Car: Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai i20 WRC
Team: Hyundai Motorsport N, Hyundai Motorsport
Co-driver: John Kennard, John Kennard
Points: 138
Standing: 4
Rally Wins: 1
Retirements: 0
Podiums: 3

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Here’s what makes him special:

• Paddon is determined to make it in the WRC. As a schoolboy he funded his rallying by squeezing in a 5am paper round, shifts in a fish and chip shop and a job selling motorbike spares.

• That persistence could be about to pay off. A superb 2015 campaign was rewarded with a new contract for all 14 rounds of the 2016 season.

• His PWRC title in 2011 made Paddon the first Australasian driver to win an FIA world rally title.

• He is the first New Zealand driver to secure a professional contract to compete in the World Rally Championship.

The story so far

Like many professional drivers, Paddon’s career began in karts. Racing from the age of six, he sold his kart when he was 13 to buy a grass-track Mini. Supported by his father Chris, a club rally driver, he enjoyed success in Motorkhana in the Mini and rally sprints as co-driver to his father in a Toyota Levin.

Paddon’s first rally behind the wheel came in 2002 when he was 15. Driving his father’s Toyota fitted with learner plates, he finished fourth in class. Two seasons in the South Island Rally Championship followed, before a step up to a four-wheel drive Mitsubishi in 2005 and the New Zealand Junior and Rookie titles in 2006. He won the championship outright in 2008.

Paddon’s international ambitions were given a boost in 2009 when he won a Pirelli Star Driver scholarship to tackle the 2010 PWRC. He finished third that year, but a self-funded return in 2011 was more successful, and Paddon became the first Australasian winner of an FIA world rally title.

He returned in 2012 at the wheel of a Skoda S2000 and won three rounds, but was unable to hold on to the title. With funds low, Paddon managed just three WRC 2 rallies in 2013 before rounding off his season with eighth place at Rally de España on his first event in a World Rally Car.

Hyundai’s WRC arrival in 2014 couldn’t have come at a better time for Paddon. The team was eager to put miles on its new i20 WRC, and Paddon secured a six round programme in the manufacturer’s second-tier ‘N’ team.

Although the new car was far from perfect, he impressed with eighth places in Poland and Finland and took a career best sixth in Australia – as close as the WRC gets to his home ground.

The 2015 season marked Paddon's breakthrough. He finished second in Italy after leading for most of the opening two days and followed up with fourth in Poland. With confidence high, he showed strong pace through the rest of the year to earn a three-year deal with the Korean manufacturer.

Rally Classification Co-driver Rank Points
Rallye Monte-Carlo WRC John Kennard, John Kennard 25. 0
Rally Sweden WRC John Kennard, John Kennard 2. 18
Rally Guanajuato México WRC John Kennard, John Kennard 5. 10+1
YPF Rally Argentina WRC John Kennard, John Kennard 1. 25+3
Vodafone Rally de Portugal WRC John Kennard, John Kennard 54. 0
Rally Italia Sardegna WRC John Kennard, John Kennard 33. 0
73rd PZM Rally Poland WRC John Kennard, John Kennard 3. 15
Neste Rally Finland WRC John Kennard, John Kennard 5. 10+2
ADAC Rallye Deutschland WRC John Kennard, John Kennard 5. 10
Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse WRC John Kennard, John Kennard 6. 8
RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España WRC John Kennard, John Kennard 4. 12
Dayinsure Wales Rally GB WRC John Kennard, John Kennard 4. 12
Kennards Hire Rally Australia WRC John Kennard, John Kennard 4. 12


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Tour de Corse