Hayden Paddon is returning to the world rally stage, locking in a part-time WRC2 drive for the 2022 season before a full championship assault in 2023.
Paddon will have long-time friend and veteran co-driver John Kennard in the second seat.
As part of their 2022 plans, Paddon and Kennard will compete in a Hyundai i20 N Rally2 car at events in Estonia, Finland and New Zealand.
And that’s just at this stage. More events could be added as the year advances.
Paddon will then return in 2023 for a full WRC2 championship attack with the intent of winning the title.
After that, he could very well be back in the World Rally Championship.
“We have been trying so hard over the past two years to get back to the WRC,” Paddon said.
“But we’re so proud to be taking a Kiwi team to these offshore events, along with some support in Europe and backed by an incredible line-up of New Zealand companies including Hyundai New Zealand to make this unique campaign possible.”
Paddon has been absent from the WRC since a one-off gig in Great Britain in 2019.
He then planned to run a privateer team in select rounds of the 2020 championship but canned those as the global pandemic grounded world travel to a standstill.
“I’m really looking forward to rallying in Europe again,” he said.
“I am really excited about doing this campaign with our own team.
“It’s going to be challenging but we have a clear target for this two-year program and we will be putting our best foot forward to try and achieve that.”
Between now and Paddon’s last WRC tilt, he has been crushing the domestic rally championship, as well as developing an all-electric Kona capable of doing full rally stages.
The car Paddon is racing this year is currently being built in Germany at Hyundai’s Motorsport base.
It will be ready in May, ahead of Paddon’s first event in July.