Paddon confirms new Hyundai contract
Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon has confirmed a new contract with Hyundai New Zealand.
Paddon will continue to represent the Hyundai brand with all his and the team’s motorsport endeavours, as he dives into some exciting and challenging projects - national and international - with the now six-strong Paddon Rallysport crew based in their new facility at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell.
A busy 2019 driving programme will include three New Zealand events - the team will enter the New Zealand-built Hyundai i20 AP4+ car in the new format FIA Asia Pacific Championship category at Rally Otago in April and May’s International Rally of Whangarei, followed by Paddon’s ‘home’ event, the South Canterbury Rally in June. Blenheim-based John Kennard will co-drive for Paddon at Rally Otago with the co-driver for future events still to be announced.
"I’m incredibly proud to be part of the Hyundai New Zealand family," says Paddon. "Without the Hyundai New Zealand team, we would never have made it into the World Rally Championship initially and then achieved what we have done so far."
Paddon describes the partnership with Hyundai New Zealand, first established in 2014, as "more like family than strictly corporate", and pays credit to the company’s management for the pivotal role they have played in his career to date.
"That well-established partnership offers a platform for us to continue to build on long term," says Paddon. "It’s fair to say, that between Paddon Rallysport and Hyundai New Zealand, we have some big ambitions! Short term that involves a heavier motorsport presence here in New Zealand, but longer term, we are working together for an international campaign run by a 100 per cent Kiwi team."
Hyundai New Zealand general manager, Andy Sinclair says: "Hayden is an exceptional individual with business nous and sporting prowess. We, along with our nationwide dealer network, have been proud to support Hayden’s national and international endeavours over the last four years. Our commitment to Hayden and his team is unquestionable and we are thoroughly excited about the busy year ahead and our collective aspirations."
Paddon says he continues to seek options to contest future World Rally Championship events in either a WRC or an R5-spec car.
"While we would obviously still like to be in the WRC, that was a decision that was outside our control," Paddon says. "The team at Hyundai New Zealand have been nothing but supportive and that’s something I will never turn my back on."
Sinclair adds: "We were disappointed for Hayden when he did not secure a contract with Hyundai Motorsport, however, he is talented and driven and has a long future in motorsport ahead of him."
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