Hayden Paddon has told Radio New Zealand that the cancelled Rally Australia was most likely the last WRC event he will compete in.
Paddon raised $600,000 this year to fund two runs in a M-Sport World Rally Car, but wasn't either to turn a wheel in either of the two events he was entered in.
In Finland in August, his Fiesta WRC was destroyed when the car flipped off the road during a pre-event test, and now, in Australia, the rally was cancelled three days before it was due to begin because of bushfires.
The 32-year old now appears set to focus on his own business and its electric rally car project.
"The right decision was made to cancel the event... there's much bigger things than sport - the fires are devastating," Paddon said in a Radio NZ interview.
"Personally I am absolutely gutted. It's the second time we have tried to get to a WRC event this year and the second time we haven't got to start. It's quite unbelievable really," he said.
Paddon's testing crash was not his fault, but destroyed the car. Photo: @TuomasToyry via Twitter
"We needed a score on the scoreboard this year and that's what we were hoping to do here and showcase what I know we can achieve and use it as a platform to go and talk to teams and see what opportunities we can get for next year but without that it is very tough now.
"We had to find a lot of funding this year, $600,000 worth... but we are not not in a position to continue that."
Paddon's chances of a WRC return look slim, with more drivers than seats in the current market.
"It's likely this was our last WRC event and it's unfortunate it's ended like this," he added.
"The odds are stacked against us now and there's just not the opportunities out there, and we have got other things to focus on with our own motorpsort project we can't just keep all our eggs in one basket.
"There comes a time in life when there is a bigger picture...and the last three years have been setback after setback and it's not for a lack of trying, a lot of other drivers would probably have sat back and waited for something to come their way."
In a year when it seemed that everything was conspiring against him, Paddon is left with a feeling of 'what might have been'.
"We should have achieved a lot more. It just feels like we haven't been given a fair shot over the past two to three years and that's the most frustrating part."
New Zealand's return to the WRC next September would seem like the perfect time for Paddon to rejoin the championship, but a one-off drive would need to make sense for all the right reasons.
Being uncompetitive after two years out of a WRC car isn't something that's likely to appeal to the determined Paddon.
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