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

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

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Hayden Paddon
Author Jason Craig
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Prime

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia Prime

How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Prime

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Prime

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Prime

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener.

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Prime

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021
The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020

A drastically-shortened 2020 season gave the World Rally Championship protagonists precious little stage mileage to strut their stuff, but as ever the cream rose to the top across the seven events. We rank the year's best performers

WRC
Jan 4, 2021