Paddon working through the options for 2013
Geraldine rally driver Hayden Paddon may be getting a few grey hairs but he is confident he still has enough youth on his side to make the impact he wants in the World Rally Championship.
Paddon has until mid-March to raise $1 million to fund his third WRC campaign, in 2013.
The 25-year-old is still "working through his options" as to whether a second year in the Super World Rally Championship (SWRC) class or a step up to a fully fledged WRC campaign was the best move.
"We've got offers on the table from both SWRC and WRC teams but they both require funding."
Paddon finished a disappointing fourth in this year's SWRC season, as costly errors from both himself and his car curtailed his chances of securing the title.
"It was a frustrating year, we had a lot of little problems that hindered us.
"We should have been able to win a lot of the rallies on performance alone - character building is what I'd call it."
Ireland's Craig Breen won the SWRC title this year at just 22, but Paddon said he was still considered young for the WRC. "In rallying, they identify 30 as the prime age.
"The next two years are going to be the pivotal time to get into a factory team.
"We've got five years up our sleeve in the scheme of it all."
In an effort to improve, Paddon has gone back to the future by rebuilding his old Subaru rally car, so he can use it in some New Zealand rallies when he is home between WRC events.
It has been a labour of love trying to get the car back in action after Paddon and a passenger plummeted 200 metres in the Geraldine forest 12 months ago.
A mechanical error saw them literally fly off the road and down a cliff at 140kmh.
"We've got a few corporate rides to catch up on, but it will allow us to compete in some New Zealand rallies, depending on our WRC schedule.
"Having a car like this is going to allow us to do more miles," Paddon said.
"One of our big problems [this year] is that we didn't do enough miles and didn't have enough time in the seat because we didn't have a car at home to drive.
"Having this here means that we can do more practice and the odd [New Zealand] rally."
The Timaru Herald