Hayden Paddon has withdrawn his entry to the Australian Rally Championship opener, citing travel issues and clashes with his New Zealand rally schedule.
Paddon was set to head to Canberra next month for the Australian Rally Championship opener, driving a Hyundai i20 R5 prepared by Walkem Motorsport.
However, this morning Paddon announced that he has had to pull his entry from the event. While he has sufficient time to get over to Australia to take part in the rally, Paddon won’t be able to return to New Zealand until midway through the year.
During that period, Paddon would miss competing in the first three rounds of the 2021 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, including the International Rally of Whangarei.
“Its with a heavy heart that we confirm we will be unable to make the first round of the Australian Rally Championship with Walkem Motorsport and their Hyundai R5 next month,” Paddon wrote on social media.
“While we can travel to Australia, current travel restrictions would then mean we would not be able to get back into NZ until July, missing the first three rounds of the NZ Championship.
“We are committed to still get to Australia and will have to remain patient to see how the travel situation evolves.
“A massive thank you to Marcus, Graeme and the whole Walkem team for their patience and commitment, and we look forward to hitting the Australian gravel stages as soon as we can.”
The Canberra Rally was due to be Paddon’s first major event of 2021, coming off a successful 2020 season.
Last year, Paddon unveiled his home-built electric Hyundai Kona rally car, which is reportedly capable of competing in full-length rallying events.
He also contested 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 opening round of the New Zealand Rally Championship will be the Otago Rally on April 16-18.