Confirmed: Hyundai NZ extends partnership with Hayden Paddon
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World Rally Championship refugee Hayden Paddon has had more of his 2019 calendar confirmed, following the announcement that Hyundai New Zealand would be extending their partnership with the defending domestic champion.
Paddon and the Paddon Rallysport squad will take on three New Zealand events; Rally Otago next month, the International Rally of Whangarei in May, and the South Canterbury Rally in June. These will all be tackled in the team's Hyundai i20 AP4+ pocket rocket. Paddon will reunite with co-driver John Kennard for Otago, with co-drivers for the balance still to be announced.
“I’m incredibly proud to be part of the Hyundai New Zealand family,” said 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.”
“While we would obviously still like to be in the WRC, that was a decision that was outside our control. The team at Hyundai New Zealand have been nothing but supportive and that’s something I will never turn my back on.”
“We have certainly not given up on the ultimate goal of being back in the WRC. This is something that Hyundai New Zealand and our other valued partners Z Energy, Pak’nSave and Winmax Brakes all remain committed to.
"When I had to call them the night after receiving the news of no WRC contract for 2019 late last year, I was amazed by the response from all our partners: that they will continue to back and support us. That is a sign of true dedication and belief in what we are all working towards – business and sporting.”
Following the third of those domestic events, Paddon will cross the world to compete in the inaugural Global Rallycross series in Europe. There he will also drive a Hyundai, although that one will be an i30 based on the Pantera X6 platform used in the GRC Titans class. Round one of the series will take place at France in June.
“Hayden is an exceptional individual with business nous and sporting prowess, adds Hyundai New Zealand General Manager Andy Sinclair.
"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.
“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.”