Hayden Paddon gutted with Rally NZ news
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Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon has reacted with dismay to reports the New Zealand Rally won't be included in next year's World Rally Championship.
The autosport.com website is reporting that WRC officials are poised to introduce Croatia to the 2018 calender and hand a return to Turkey.
It is expected Poland will be dropped from the schedule because of spectator control problems this year.
Paddon reacted angrily on Twitter to the report, worried another rejection could close the door on New Zealand for a considerable period of time.
"All I will say....it's not right - especially with all the hard work so many put in #gutted #maybetheend," he tweeted.
Paddon also posted what he described as a "last ditch" effort to garner support, asking followers to retweet their demand for a Kiwi WRC leg.
Rally New Zealand organisers admitted on Tuesday that it was unlikely the event will return to the World Rally Championship calendar next year.
Latest discussions with the FIA and the World Rally Championship Promoter suggest that expanding the 2018 Championship for a new event outside Europe would prove too challenging because of commercial considerations.
The final outcome will be known next month.
Rally New Zealand spokesman Peter Johnston said his organisation was disappointed but wouldn't give up on their long-term goal of returning Rally New Zealand to the WRC calendar.
"There is still a small chance that we could be included on the 2018 calendar, but at this stage the WRC Promoter has said that the costs to venture to New Zealand are a major hurdle," Johnston said.
A WRC round was last staged in New Zealand in 2012, when it was alternating with Australia.
New Zealand hosted a WRC leg 31 times between 1977 and 2012.
Next year's calendar will be presented to the WRC Commission meeting in Germany later this month.