Paddon admits WRC return chances bleaker than ever

Former Hyundai driver Hayden Paddon says the prospect of him negotiating a works drive in the World Rally Championship is bleaker than ever.

Paddon admits WRC return chances bleaker than ever
Listen to this article

Paddon was forced out of the series at the end of 2018 after the Alzenau team signed nine-time WRC champion, Sebastien Loeb.

A programme had been tabled by then Hyundai Motorsport boss Michel Nandan but it was deemed too limited by Paddon.

Recent attempts by the New Zealander to plot a course back into the series have been stymied by a testing accident that prevented him from starting Rally Finland with M-Sport Ford two seasons ago.

The cancellation of Rally Australia later that same year due to bush fires was another setback for his aspirations, with plans to complete a four-rally programme in 2020 ended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crash of Hayden Paddon, M-Sport

Crash of Hayden Paddon, M-Sport

Photo by: ylivaa media

Paddon, the 2016 Rally Argentina winner, told Motorsport.com the prospect of him successfully negotiating a drive in either the WRC or the WRC’s WRC2 support series between now and December was remote.

“To be honest, I would love to be back in the World Rally Championship – I would give anything to be back in the World Rally Championship – but I am also realistic," the 33-year-old said.

"We have been on the sidelines for a while now and there’s several other young drivers coming through [the ranks].

“Negotiations with teams have somewhat stalled for now. The start of the season is always the busiest for teams.

"It’s only around mid-season that they start to think about the following year."

Read Also:

In between talking to teams to find a deal that works for both parties, Paddon has also been devoting a large amount of his time to developing an electric rally car based on Hyundai’s small Kona crossover.

He believes it is the future of the sport and reckons the technical know-how that he is learning in terms of packaging and performance could make him attractive in the role as a test and development driver.

From 2022, Rally1 cars will combine a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with a 100kW plug-in hybrid unit, with M-Sport Ford, Toyota Gazoo Racing and Hyundai Motorsport all busy behind the scenes.

“I would be really interested in a test role, and helping a team to develop their new hybrid systems, because I feel we are building our knowledge base quite well in that area at the moment,” said Paddon.

“I feel I could deliver [results] – but I’m not holding my breath.

“I still want to be involved, whether that is as a Rally1 driver, Rally2 driver or even just a test driver. I feel I still have a lot to offer.”

shares
comments

Related video

EKS launches Audi A1 Quattro Rally2 car
Previous article

EKS launches Audi A1 Quattro Rally2 car

Next article

WRC director confident of holding full 2021 campaign

WRC director confident of holding full 2021 campaign
Load comments
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Prime

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Prime

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Prime

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Prime

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Motorsport.com donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the life of a rally mechanic.

WRC
Apr 17, 2022
The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer Prime

The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer

Taking his first step into the Junior World Rally Championship category, McRae Kimathi - named after 1995 world champion Colin - found himself in the unfamiliar climes of Sweden's snow and ice. Having impressed, Kimathi hopes to blaze a trail to the top level of WRC and help other African drivers to step onto the ladder

WRC
Mar 8, 2022
How Rovanpera grabbed the Rally Sweden spotlight Prime

How Rovanpera grabbed the Rally Sweden spotlight

After a blockbuster opening act to the new era of the World Rally Championship with the battle of the Sebastiens at Monte Carlo, Rally Sweden would be the first chance to assess the next superstar of rallying. While teething issues with the new hybrid power thwarted some of the cast, Kalle Rovanpera’s display gave him headline billing

WRC
Feb 28, 2022
The "painful" journey behind the WRC's generational tech innovation Prime

The "painful" journey behind the WRC's generational tech innovation

As the company selected to provide the hybrid kits for the 2022 World Rally Championship, the pressure was on Compact Dynamics at the Monte Carlo season opener. Needing to treat all three manufacturers equally, it wasn't a straightforward process, but its first big test was a resounding success that bodes well for the future.

WRC
Feb 25, 2022
The mentality shift key to Lappi’s shot at WRC redemption Prime

The mentality shift key to Lappi’s shot at WRC redemption

He appeared poised to become the World Rally Championship’s new bright young star five years ago, but Esapekka Lappi's fortunes since his 2017 breakthrough win offer a cautionary tale of how the tables can turn. Now having rebuilt his career, the Finn is determined to make the most of his second shot at the big time with Toyota.

WRC
Feb 23, 2022