Deal for rally driver
Geraldine rally driver Hayden Paddon has described a deal to drive in the World Rally Championship (WRC) as a dream come true.
After struggling to raise the money for regular drives in the second tier Super 2000 competition last season, the 26-year-old and co-driver John Kennard have landed a seven-round deal to drive with Hyundai in the fully fledged WRC starting in June at Rally Italia Sardegna. He is the first New Zealander to land a WRC contract.
The former FIA Production car world rally champion made the announcement in Auckland yesterday.
"It is an incredible opportunity to be part of the Hyundai Motorsport team in these very exciting times. This is what we have worked so hard for, and it will allow us to step up another level.
"It is literally a dream come true to have a good programme in a world rally car within one of the most exciting teams and manufacturers in world motorsport," Paddon said.
"This is the culmination of 18 years of work, with a lot of sweat and tears and a lot of support from New Zealanders to help make this possible.
"Now we have to take this massive opportunity with both hands, maximise the potential learning and results from our seven events in the Hyundai i20 world rally car and build our career in the WRC."
Team principal Michel Nandan welcomed Paddon on board.
"Hyundai Motorsport aims to support the champions of the future. For this reason we decided to engage one more car at selected WRC events, under the entry Hyundai Motorsport N.
"Hayden is one of the very talented drivers on the WRC scene at the moment and we will support him as much as we can to reach the highest level possible.
"We are very pleased to welcome him and John to our WRC adventure and we look forward to seeing them in action ... in a couple of months' time."
- © Fairfax NZ News