Hyundai Motorsport has signed Hayden Paddon of New Zealand to contest seven events of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). He will be accompanied by his long time co-driver John Kennard, as both will kick-start their journey with Hyundai with Rally Italia Sardegna, scheduled in June.
But before that, both Pannod and Kennard will head off to Mexico for a pre-event reconnaissance to understand more about the WRC event routes. 26 year-old Paddon is a former FIA production car world rally champion and made his WRC debut competing in the Production Word Rally Championship category in 2007.
In 2009 he won the Pacific cup and also qualified for the Pirelli Star driver Asia Pacific Final at the rally in Australia. Paddon won the Pirelli star diver scholarship giving him a fully funded programme for six events at the 2010 season of the WRC.
2011 saw Paddon contesting a full PWRC season consisting 6 rounds under his newly formed team New Zealand world rally team. In a surprising move Paddon switched to Subaru for the 2011 season were he drove a STR11 Subaru Impreza N4 run by Belgian Team Symtech Racing.
In 2012, Paddon moved to SWRC championship armed with a Skoda Fabia. After finishing 4th in Sweden he took his first SWRC win in his second rally at the 2012 Rally de Portugal which saw many competitors including Paddon have breakdowns.
Hyundai confirmed that it will be participating in the rallies in Poland in late June, Finland in early August, Australia in September and Great Britain in November. The company also said that participation in the other two of the remaining 3 events (Germany, France and Spain).
Hyundai is aiming for the drivers and manufacturers championship points at the WRC by giving its drivers the i20 world rally car, entered as Hyundai motorsport N. A balanced 2014 is on the cards for Paddon with a seven event programme confirmed in the i20 world rally car.