Paddon returns! Kiwi secures more drives for M-Sport
Hayden Paddon will get another WRC chance after striking a deal with M-Sport for two of the remaining rounds of this year’s championship.
The popular Kiwi will compete in both Wales Rally GB and Rally Australia, events which he has vast experience on in the past.
He will drive the new Ford Fiesta R5 car in Wales, and the Ford Fiesta WRC at the Coffs Harbour based finale.
“We are really excited to get back behind the wheel,” Paddon said.
“After the disappointment of Finland there was no way we could let that be the end of it and, together with M-Sport, we have worked hard to find some solutions.
“I really can’t thank everyone enough for their continued help and support; and a special thanks to HNZ who have again allowed this opportunity to happen.”
The R5 car will be a new challenge for Paddon, as he has limited experience in the category.
He recently competed in a Hyundai i20 R5 in Australia’s Eureka Rally, but this will be his first time in the Fiesta variant.
“I’m really looking forward to driving M-Sport’s new R5 on an event we are familiar with and will aim to showcase its capabilities.
“It’s also good to get more seat time which, combined with testing both the R5 and the WRC, is something we have been lacking this year. But getting back in the world rally car at Rally Australia will be the real highlight, and I can’t wait.
“We’re not treating these rallies as a ‘last chance.’ We want to relax and enjoy the whole experience which will allow the results to come naturally. These are both rallies we know well and I feel I’m at a good level. There’s no reason we can’t deliver some strong results, but it’s important we don’t go chasing them – just let them come naturally.”
Paddon missed out on the chance to run in Finland after crashing in his pre-event test, but has full support from the team.
“After what happened in the lead-up to Finland, it was clear that a lot of the fans were desperate to see Hayden back behind the wheel,” Richard Millener, team boss of M-Sport said.
“We gave him some thoughts and advice on what was needed to compete with us again, and within three weeks he was pretty much there!
“The backing and budget he was able to secure has allowed us to offer him two events – one with the Ford Fiesta R5 at Wales Rally GB, and another with the Ford Fiesta WRC at Rally Australia,” he concluded.