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He may be taking a hiatus from the WRC, but Hayden Paddon's decision to focus on events closer to home is a bonus for the long-suffering Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC). Along with a New Zealand TCR program, driving a sprint car and racing a cross kart, Paddon is targeting victory in the APRC. "We will compete in several NZRC and APRC events with a focus of the APRC," he said recently. That's great news for the APRC final in, most likely, Coffs Harbour in next November. While the event has been calendared and is likely to host the APRC final, funding still needs to be found by CAMS and, hopefully, the NSW Government for this to happen. This year's final in China was successful, but coverage in English speaking countries was low and the winning driver, China's Lin Dewei, was largely unknown outside his homeland. In the meantime, it's full steam ahead of Paddon, who took his hat out of the ring for a seat in M-Sport's WRC squad for next year. “The relationship we have built with the team at Hyundai New Zealand is truly humbling and one that I’m fully committed to," he added. "For them to allow me to compete in a different brand car in 2019 speaks volumes of the strength of their support and belief. Our projects for 2020 and the future remain committed to Hyundai New Zealand.” Paddon was set to contest both Rally Finland and Rally Australia in a Ford Fiesta WRC, but neither drive materialised. He had an accident in pre-rally testing in Finland, and then Rally Australia was cancelled because of the devastating NSW bushfires. His first rally next year is likely to be Dunedin's Otago Rally, in early April.
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