Motorsport: Hayden Paddon close to securing rally future

Hayden Paddon's confident of securing his place in next year's World Rally Championship.

The Kiwi driver's returned to New Zealand to compete at the Ashley Forest Rallysprint event in North Canterbury, less than a week after securing his first podium finish of the year at Rally Turkey - a weight lifted off the shoulders of the Geraldine flyer.

"This year was just about getting a new contract and taking that pressure off," Paddon told Newshub.

But the pressure's not completely off - Paddon's yet to secure his future in the WRC for next year. His result in Turkey will no doubt help, along with his two fourth-place finishes in Sardinia and Finland - the two preceding events.

Those results have capped a frustrating part-time year, where he has shared a drive with his Hyundai factory team.

"Discussions are going on at the moment in the background," Paddon said.

"They're all quite positive, so for sure, we'll be back there, but obviously there's a lot of T's to cross and I's to dot on how that looks and how that's going to work out."

Paddon's struggles are typical of what New Zealand drivers deal with on the world stage.

The financial factor in motorsport and New Zealand's isolation from the rest of the world make it difficult for drivers to succeed.

"It's no secret, it's very hard for Kiwis to be successful in world sport, especially in motorsport," the 31-year-old said.

"It's the same for us in Europe, it's the same for Brendon Hartley and many other Kiwi drivers like Mitch Evans.

"Once you're there, you really have to try and stay there, and probably have to really work harder than any other driver in the world, when you come from this part of the world."

It can be done.

Scott Dixon - fresh from winning his fifth Indycar title - is a prime example.

"He's gone over to the states and pushed the boundaries, and done something no-one else has done," Paddon explained. "We're trying to do the same in our field within rallying, so we take a lot of inspiration with what he's doing."

Paddon will know whether he can continue to do that full-time on the WRC stage within a month.

Meanwhile, he's focused on continuing his consistent performances this season at the next rally in Wales, starting October 4.



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