Kiwi Hayden Paddon betrayed by Rally NZ WRC snub
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Kiwi WRC ace Hayden Paddon has been left frustrated by what appears to be a failed bid to bring Rally New Zealand back to the world championship in 2018.
New Zealand is almost certainly going to be left off the calendar for next year with Turkey replacing Poland in the only change.
After a year of pushing for a return, working with the promoter and raising funds the hard work seems to have been in vain.
"Until the calendar is officially published next month we can hold slim hope but it is just that - a very slim hope," a deflated Paddon told The Herald.
"I am very disappointed in the whole process. I know the amount of time and effort and money that has gone into getting it to the point it is now and look how positive it was two or three months ago and to see how quickly it has changed is hard to stomach."
Paddon and Rally NZ boss Peter Johnston lobbied hard for the event over the past year with every indication being a return was likely.
That has made being left out all the more difficult to accept.
"I feel like we've been stabbed in the back and that is how I feel - there have been a lot of others that have poured a lot more work than I have into it," Paddon said.
"It is a difficult pill to swallow."
It is even more frustrating for Paddon who is entering the prime of his career. He knows that the window he has of driving his local roads in the highest level of the sport is fast closing.
"I said if we don't get it now it will probably never come back and I stand by that," the 30-year-old added.
Paddon is back in New Zealand for a three-week break before returning to Europe to prepare for Rally Spain in early October.