Hayden Paddon says he is working on securing a drive in a Rally2 car in a bid to return to the World Rally Championship.
Paddon has not been in the WRC since a one-off appearance in 2019 driving a WRC2 Ford Fiesta in Britain.
His last competitive outing in a WRC1 car was in 2018.
The Kiwi had plans to drive a Hyundai WRC1 car in four rounds of the 2020 championship, including a shot at home glory when the series returned to New Zealand.
However, that return was canned due to the global pandemic.
Despite all the missed opportunities, Paddon is hopeful he can eventually work his way back onto the elite stage.
“Rally2 is the most realistic option,” Paddon said in an interview with DirtFish.
“Naturally, I want to be in a Rally1 car, but I know I need to get back [to WRC], and that’s why we’re working on some stuff for next year.
“We’re working with Hyundai New Zealand, we obviously have very good relations with them, they’ve stuck with us through thick and thin.”
After seeing the 2020 rally cancelled, the WRC returns to New Zealand next year.
It presents the chance for Paddon to have another one-off shot in the top tier category.
“To be in a Rally1 car for Rally New Zealand would be the dream,” he said.
“I know the roads like the back of my hand, and I think I could do a good job. I still feel we’re in really good shape and I know I’m driving well.”
Next year’s Rally1 cars are the first to feature hybrid drivetrains. Paddon is well learned on hybrid and electric technology, having spent several months developing his own fully electric rally car.
“I’ve been working with my Kona EV here and that gives me some insight into how to drive an electric or hybrid car.”
The 2022 WRC begins in Monaco in January, with Rally New Zealand scheduled to go ahead in late September.