WRC event winner Hayden Paddon says he's open to the idea of contesting a compressed Australian Rally Championship in the latter months of 2020.
With the New Zealand Rally Championship already cancelled, the four-event ARC, to be held over an eight week period, offers Paddon the perfect chance to contest the full Aussie title.
Naturally, there are many things that would need to be put into place for this to happen, but none of them are insurmountable.
For a start, he'd need a budget and a car.
Ideally he could drive the Hyundai i20 R5 that he used at last year's Eureka Rally, and owned by the Walkem family.
As for the budget, if Hyundai Australia were ever going to put their toe in the water for an ARC campaign, this would be the perfect opportunity.
Through their N-Performance brand, they've been heavily involved in a tarmac rallysprint series in Sydney for a couple of years, and have run a factory-backed car for Brendan Reeves in Targa Tasmania.
Now, with a COVID-affected ARC season over just eight weeks, the stars may be aligning perfectly.
Hayden Paddon would love the chance to contest the 2020 Australian Rally Championship. Photo: RedBull
Paddon admits that the idea is appealing to him, and following in the footsteps of his hero, Possum Bourne, is an enticing thought.
"Never say never, but unless there was some support from Hyundai Australia to try and win a title, it seems like it’s a little out of our reach at present," Paddon told RallySport Magazine.
"The Walkem car could be an option, but it would still cost a lot to do the events, travel etc."
Money, as always, would be the key issue, even though Hyundai Australia are interested in the idea of backing Paddon.
The company has longed to run an R5 spec car in the ARC for Brendan Reeves, but to date that hasn't been possible.
The fact that the i20 is not sold in Australia is another stumbling block.
Paddon's legion of Kiwi fans could follow him across the Tasman and join his Australian fans at the ARC. Photo: RedBull
The automotive industry has taken a huge hit from the Coronavirus pandemic and getting a manufacturer to spend money on a rally program may be like pulling teeth.
But if ever Hyundai Australia was going to assist Paddon to have a crack at an Aussie title, 2020 would be the year.
Now all that's needed is for someone to put the wheels in motion and try and make it happen.
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