Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon to compete in seven World Rally Championship events in 2018

The Kiwi will race in seven of the 13 races scheduled for the 2018 WRC season.
The Kiwi will race in seven of the 13 races scheduled for the 2018 WRC season. Photo credit: Photosport

Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon is back in Europe and getting set for a reduced workload of seven events in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2018.

Hyundai Motorsport has confirmed that Paddon and British co-driver Seb Marshall will share the #6 Hyundai with team-mate Dani Sordo and the Spaniard's new co-driver Carlos del Barrio, with Paddon contesting seven of the 13 rallies, while Sordo will also contest seven rallies with the team running four cars in Portugal.

The Kiwi/Brit pairing get their 2018 season underway at the WRC's only full-winter rally in Sweden in February. They then contest Portugal (May), Italy (June), Finland (July), Turkey (September), Great Britain (October) and Australia (November).

Paddon finished eighth overall in the 2017 WRC season in what was a horrible year for the New Zealander which he labelled the 'most difficult year of his life'.

But that is all in the past, and the 30-year-old looking to bounce back strongly.

"I am treating the 2018 season almost like a fresh start after our difficulties from last year," he said. "I want to put that behind me and use the positives from our podium results to spur us on to achieve what I know we are capable of.

"We will make the most of all seven events this year; being gravel rallies, these are all events that are strong for us and we have good experience of  other than Turkey, which will be new for everyone.

"We have nothing to lose, so we will be going all out on these events to fight for podiums and get that edge back. Also by doing more events in second half of the year, it means we will also have an advantageous road position for most events."

Paddon admitted he would have preferred to compete in all 13 rallies in 2018, but accepts the situation he has been put in.

"I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't prefer to contest the full season, but I have to accept things like this and make the most of each opportunity we get throughout the year. Of course, we will do everything in our power to help the team towards their goal of winning the manufacturers' title.

"My ultimate goal and target remains the same, but it will have to go on hold for this year. This year is about getting it all back on track and work towards the future."