27 Feb 2014

Hayden Paddon scores WRC contract

10:15 am on 27 February 2014

The New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon has become the first New Zealander to secure a professional contract to compete in the World Rally Championship.

The 26 year old has been signed by Hyundai Motorsport to contest seven out of 13 events in the 2014 season.

With his long-time co-driver, John Kennard, the pair will start the season at the Rally of Italy in June.

Paddon and Kennard will compete in a Hyundai i20 world rally car, entered as Hyundai Motorsport N, with the potential to earn points in both the manufacturers' and drivers' championships.

The crew will drive alongside the two Hyundai Shell World Rally Team i20 branded cars, driven respectively by Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo.

Paddon, from Geraldine, is based in the German city of Frankfurt, less than 50 kilo metre's from the team's headquarters in Alzenau.

Kennard will fly from his home in Blenheim to join Paddon at each event.

The pair head off to next week's Rally Mexico to complete pre-event reconnaissance to further their learning of all WRC event routes.

Rallies in Poland in late June, Finland in early August, Australia in September and Great Britain in November are also confirmed with the other two yet to be decided from the remaining three events (Germany, France and Spain).