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The well publicised eight-driver long waiting list of top drivers still hoping to have regular drives in the 2020 has shortened to six following announcements recently made by Hayden Paddon and Kris Meeke. Hayden Paddon has been quoted in the Otago Daily Tmes, a leading New Zealand South Island newspaper, that the last remaining WRC opportunity for him, with M-Sport in a Ford, was not an option for him. He said: “M-Sport is just not an option for us. We have to respect what Hyundai New Zealand are doing to support us and that is the brand that we are going to stay loyal to.” This news follows the recent announcement that New Zealand is re-entering the WRC calendar in 2020, which Paddon wants to enter in a World Rally Car. Paddon had recently forged ahead with commercial development work based in the South Island town of Cromwell, including an electric powered rally car. Meanwhile, 40 year old Kris Meeke has used social media to announce his withdrawal from the race to a WRC seat. He wrote: “Ciao for now #WRC … Thanks tgr_wrc toyota_gazoo_racing. Time to explore some other passions. Let’s see what 2020 brings.” Active in the WRC for 20 years, Ulsterman Meeke rallied professionally with Peugeot UK, Mini, Citroen and Toyota, contested 104 WRC events, winning five, and his most important title was IRC Champion in 2009.

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