The end of 2018 brought bad news for Kiwi rally fans after our only World Rally Championship (WRC) driver, Hayden Paddon, was essentially dropped from his Hyundai racing team. It wasn’t the result we had all hoped for, after an already reduced 2018 season. However, on 4 July, the man himself broke the good news that he and co-driver John Kennard are back in the WRC for a one-event stint, which may very well lead to a more permanent drive in the series!
The pair will campaign Rally Finland (1–4 August) behind the wheel of an M-Sport Fiesta WRC car, and Paddon had this to say about the call-up: “We are working hard over the next [four] weeks to make sure we throw everything and the kitchen sink at this event. We will have a [one-]day test to adapt to the car. While limited, [we] are confident that, working with the M-Sport engineers, [it] will be sufficient. The goal? Minimum top five — but I always like more too.
“We still want to be in the WRC more regularly, but we couldn’t keep sitting at home, so will give it everything. Big thanks to M-Sport, who have been very welcoming and helped us put this together in a very short space of time.”