Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon will contest the opening round of the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship in Canberra next year.
Paddon will drive a Hyundai i20 R5 prepared by the Walkem Motorsport in the Australian capital in March.
He previously drove the same i20 in a round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in Victoria back in 2019.
While Paddon is only locked in for the season-opener, the 33-year-old is not shying away from the prospect of a full championship season next year.
“I’m thrilled to again be working with the team at Walkem Motorsport and being part of the Australian Championship, beginning with the Netier National Capital Rally in March,” said Paddon.
“For me, the Canberra event is a really exciting prospect. The only time I have been there was for my very first overseas trip as a holiday when I was 13 years old to watch the rally. So it’s exciting to return 20 years later to drive in the event.
“As we look towards next year, we are also discussing the potential of running a full ARC season in the Hyundai which would certainly be an exciting prospect for both myself and the Walkem Motorsport team. We hope to be able to confirm our full plans shortly.”
Team boss Graeme Walkem welcomed the return of Paddon.
“We have a great relationship with Hayden and are really pleased he will be back in the Walkem Motorsport-prepared Hyundai R5 machine,” Walkem said.
“Hayden has already shown how quick he can be in this car, having won the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship after a podium at Ballarat in 2019.
“We know Hayden will again be up for the fight with the top ARC contenders and will be eager to shake up the ARC podium.”
This year, Paddon unveiled his home-built electric Hyundai Kona rally car, which is reportedly capable of competing in full-length rallying events.
He also competed in and won the City of Auckland Rally before crashing out in a spectacular roll-over the following day in the inaugural Battle of Jack’s Ridge.
The Netier National Capital Rally that Paddon will be competing in takes place on 26-28 March.