New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon was delighted to hear news from the Hyundai WRC Rally team this week. His involvement in the 2018 WRC season has been confirmed.
The official release was that he will drive in 7 of the 13 scheduled rally’s this year. That is ‘music to the ears’ of the Kiwi drivers fans.
2018 here we come! You will see us at Rally Sweden??, Portugal??, Sardenga??, Finland??, Turkey??, GB?? and Australia??. We will also have increased NZ program and some other events to stay match fit. Will make the most of each opportunity #justgonnasendit pic.twitter.com/iDZcTPPIFC
— Hayden Paddon (@HaydenPaddon) January 11, 2018
Hayden Paddon Confirms 2018 role for Hyundai WRC Rally team
A more than disappointing 2017 calendar proved hard reading for the Kiwi driver. Only a single podium finish to his name, it was not a season that ‘he thought’ had impressed Hyundai bosses.
But this week after receiving the endorsement of seven secured entries in 2018 WRC events, his stock is on the rise.
An update regarding our 2018 driver line-up: the current plan for the #6 car this season is as follows:@DaniSordo ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? @HaydenPaddon ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??
Sordo AND Paddon ?? #4cars #HyundaiWRC
— Hyundai Motorsport (@HMSGOfficial) January 11, 2018
Part of the i20 Hyundai Motorsport team, Paddon is part of the group of drivers who will look to provide the Korean manufacturer with more podium finishes, in their quest for a maiden championship.
Thierry Neuville is the lead driver, with Andrea Mikkelsen introduced in 2018 to drive the number two car. This leaves Paddon having to share the drive of the third entry. That will see Dani Sordo open the campaign in Monte Carlo–on his favoured asphalt surface–with Paddon then assuming the wheel in Finland.
And the Hyundai WRC Rally team are focused more on ‘beginning the season’ on a positive note in Monte Carlo. Neuville has spent time testing the new 2018 i20, and the impression is that it will be very competitive.
Opening Rallye Monte-Carlo Set for January 25
In less than two weeks time, the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship rolls into Monte Carlo, for the traditional opening round. All cars will then undertake a full ‘shake down’ to be on the start line for the opening special stage.
— RallyRACC (@RallyRACC) January 4, 2018
With 2017 champion Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia returning with his M-Sport Ford team, he will line-up beside Paddon and all the other drivers to commence another attempt at the world title. The five-time champ will be challenged as usual, but having won the last four straight-Monte Carlo rally, he is the figure all others wish to better.
The four major 2018 WRC manufacturers must be fully prepared by Jan 25, as they roll out of the famous Casino Square. All drivers and co-drivers will have their notes made, stages checked and double-checked, ready to put the hammer down!!.
And the only thing left to do then is…..drop the chequered flag.
Rallye Monte-Carlo: January 25-28
See the full WRC schedule here.
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