Hayden Paddon has eyes on next year
Hayden Paddon's management team will approach the offseason with more than just next year in mind.
New Zealand's top rally driver and his handlers will be spending the next couple of months detailing a plan for next year and beyond, though at this stage it is unclear exactly what shape that plan might take.
Paddon has always made it clear he wants to make it to the top of the sport and ideally he would like some starts in a World Rally Championship car next year. But they don't come cheaply and that's where his management team comes in, attempting to find the funds to make that happen.
It might be that another season with more focus on the Super 2000 class is deemed best, both for the budget and in the long-term scheme of things for his career.
The 25-year-old from Geraldine said the meetings would start "as of today" after he wrapped up a frustrating 2012 with a fifth-placed finish in the S2000 class at Rally Spain yesterday, and fourth overall.
"We've got to try and find the budget, which is the main thing," he said yesterday from Spain. "There are a few options and scenarios we're working on. We've always said we'd like to do some rallies in a world rally car next year, but we're looking at the bigger picture and whether we should do more rallies in the Super 2000 class. Budget-wise, that's a lot less.
"It's also not just about next year, it's about the next two or three years as well."
Paddon was trying to focus on the positives after a frustrating Super 2000 world championship season came to an end yesterday.
He and co-driver John Kennard bounced back from a first day retirement to show good speed across the final two days, proving their class by winning 11 of the 13 stages they completed, though a puncture yesterday stymied the charge.
It all added up to fifth place finish in the class - he was 20th overall - which sees the 25-year-old from Geraldine finish fourth overall in the championship.
Ireland's Craig Breen was victorious in Rally Spain to clinch the overall title.
The Timaru Herald