He's back: Hayden Paddon's new Ford Fiesta WRC warpaint revealed
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Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard's one-off return to the World Rally Championship at Rally Finland is imminent, with the event kicking off next week on the first of August.
In the build-up to the rally, Paddon's shown off his new-look M-Sport Ford Fiesta — sporting the blue-oval team's corporate colours, as well as a few Kiwi-fied Easter eggs.
A raft of local companies appear on the Fiesta, including Pak'n'Save, Z Energy, HNZ, and Ben Nevis Station — complete with stag. And, along with M-Sport's traditional 'dot matrix' design, the car also sports a big silver fern on each side. Excellent.
Paddon will be hoping to build on a solid performance at the Finnish event last year, where he finished fourth.
"I have to say a huge thank you to Malcolm Wilson, Rich Millener and the guys at M-Sport," said Paddon in a recent column on WRC.com.
"They really stretched their legs to make this happen before the deadline for entries. And, of course, I must thank those investors, all 17 of them, who dug deep to bring this home.
"The thing that seems to have surprised folk the most is the support we’ve had from Hyundai New Zealand, considering we’re driving a Ford Fiesta. That’s the mentality back home.
"Hyundai NZ’s a wholly Kiwi company but when general manager Andy Sinclair told me I had their complete backing as a fellow New Zealander, it was pretty humbling."