Hyundai New Zealand is backing Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon to compete in this year’s WRC Rally New Zealand in Auckland, part of the FIA World Rally Championship.
His long-time backers, Hyundai New Zealand have also signed on as elite sponsors of the event which returns to the World Rally Championship for the 32nd time, to be staged in and around Auckland from 29 September to 2 October.
Paddon and long-time co-driver John Kennard will compete in a Hyundai i20N Rally2 car in selected events of the WRC2 category of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship under the Hyundai New Zealand Rally banner. They will extend to a full seven-event campaign in 2023 aimed at winning the WRC2 Championship.
The team’s 2022 WRC2 schedule gets underway at Rally Estonia which runs 14-17 July, followed by Rally Finland 4-7 August before returning to contest Rally New Zealand.
“I can’t wait to compete on the awesome roads of Rally New Zealand again and show what the Rally2 car is capable of,” said Paddon.
The announcement of Hyundai New Zealand and Paddon’s WRC2 campaign comes at the same time as Hyundai New Zealand announced its support of the 2022 running of Rally New Zealand.
Paddon adds: “Without the support of Hyundai New Zealand, both our WRC2 campaign and the general health of rallying in New Zealand would not be where it is today, so I am hugely humbled for their faith in us to attempt to bring home a world title. And, of course, the return of WRC Rally New Zealand will be exciting for everyone, being a key ‘must do’ sporting event in New Zealand this year.”
Looking ahead to Rally New Zealand at the end of September, Chris Blair, General Manager of Hyundai New Zealand, is looking forward to a stronger Hyundai presence at this iconic, world-class event.
“This will be the first Rally New Zealand that Hyundai will compete in with not one, but two Hyundai teams – Hyundai Motorsport in WRC1 and Hyundai New Zealand Rally in WRC2,” says Blair.
“It’s set to be a really exciting year for Hyundai New Zealand with our announcement that we’re competing in a two-year WRC2 campaign with Hayden, John and the team, as well as sponsoring Rally New Zealand, an event we are so excited to see return to our shores.”
Hyundai New Zealand has been committed to rallying in New Zealand for many years and Rally New Zealand organisers are thrilled to have their support, along with Paddon acting as an ambassador for the event and competing on his home turf.
“The team at Hyundai New Zealand have been right behind us every step of the way as we’ve lobbied to bring the WRC back to New Zealand and we’re hugely grateful for their persistence and ongoing support through some challenging times,” says Michael Goldstein, CEO Rally New Zealand.
“We are all full of admiration for their ambition to create a kiwi team that will take on the world of rallying. We wish Hyundai New Zealand Rally Team and Hayden the very best of luck and hope they come into Rally New Zealand, Auckland with some great results under their belt.”
Limited Rally Gold Pass tickets to Rally New Zealand are available now at www.rallynewzealand.com