What could have been: Hayden Paddon unveils his Rally NZ WRC Hyundai
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Kiwi rallying ace Hayden Paddon has given motorsport fans a window into how things could have been so different for his 2020 campaign.
The former NZ Rally Championship title winner has shown off a render of the Hyundai i20 WRC he was slated to drive for this year's stillborn Rally New Zealand event.
The round was scheduled to take place in September, but was recently canned due to complications surrounding the international Covid-19 pandemic.
Paddon was in line to compete in four rounds of the WRC, including the return of his home event. The livery itself harks back to some of the Geraldine driver's past cars raced on the world stage, including his black and green SS2000 Skoda Fabia and Group N Subaru Impreza.
"The idea and theme was based around a 100 per cent Kiwi livery while driving a Hyundai WRC car for a second team," Paddon posted on social media.
"We were very excited along with Hyundai NZ for a four-round program including Rally NZ. Even though all these plans are now off the table for 2020, it is truly humbling to have the support of Hyundai NZ who had the vision, passion and heart to make this possible with us and ultimately try and win Rally NZ.
"Let’s see what the future brings together."
It's the second year in a row where plans for Paddon to compete as a WRC ringer have fallen over due to unforseen circumstances. After a testing shunt last year, Paddon's one WRC start was set to be on the familiar roads of Rally Australia. But the nation's devestating bush-fires cancelled the event.
It's hoped that New Zealand will now appear on next year's WRC calendar.
"Of course, we welcome the opportunity to work with the promoter and the FIA in the future to explore the possibility of this iconic event returning to our shores in 2021," said Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) general manager Steve Armitage.
“The event has a strong WRC heritage and I’m sure the drivers would have loved to be back on its iconic stages or discover them for the first time. Motorsport New Zealand and the organising team have done a fantastic work so far and we are already looking ahead to the rally taking place in the near future," said FIA Rally Director Yves Matton.