Hayden Paddon, joined by co-driver John Kennard, will be competing in their first WRC2 rally later this week at Rally Estonia where their freshly wrapped Hyundai i20 N Rally2 will make it’s statement.
The Kiwi rally driver also gave us our first glimpse of the car’s new livery earlier this week.
An all black scheme featuring white accents and a subtle fern make up what is truly a Kiwi-inspired livery.
Paddon has been putting in some valuable preparation for the upcoming rally and maintains that he doesn’t feel any pressure going into the event.
“There is zero pressure, this is the beauty of doing it with your own team,” said Paddon.
“Obviously we’re representing our partners and we’re all in it to win it, but we know what our plan is this year and our plan is not to win it this year.
“Our plan is not to jeopardize our program this year and actually give us the best chance we can for next year, so to do that we’re taking a very, I guess, step by step approach this year.”
Rejoining the World Rally Championship (WRC) has been a long time coming for Paddon after he lost his Hyundai Motorsport drive at the end of 2018.
A second chance was given to him by M-Sport Ford in 2019 for a single Finnish rally stint but an incident in testing took him out of the event.
WRC2 will hopefully be a stepping stone towards a full-time WRC drive in the future after Paddon and Kennard complete this year’s selection of rallies, and a full season in the WRC2 category next year.
Previous events in the duo’s 2022 European campaign include Rally di Alba in Italy in June where the two finished in fourth overall and most recently, Rally Liepaja in Latvia which was used as a test rally for setting up the new car.
“To be honest all the rallies this year are really prep rallies for us,” said Paddon.
“I don’t expect in any way to be able to be on the same level as them [seasoned drivers] straight away, so our expectations are in check,” he added.
Rally Estonia will get underway from July 15 to 17.