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Paddon: ‘reduced programme fuels fire’

Hayden Paddon says Hyundai’s decision to cut his WRC programme to seven rounds has fired him up.

The New Zealander must share Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team’s third car with Dani Sordo after Andreas Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville were named front-line drivers.
 
Paddon starts his campaign at Rally Sweden (15 – 18 February) and it’s clear he intends to prove a point to team management.
 
“It’s a decision that we have to accept and make the most of each opportunity we get,” Paddon explained.

“The situation also adds a little fuel to the fire to really come out this year and show what we can do, which we are determined to do. We are going to throw the kitchen sink at it this year and give it everything we have.”

Paddon acknowledged that starting fewer events could harm his development, so he has decided to increase the number of non-championship events he will tackle this season.

“Obviously like any professional sport, time practising and competing can simply not be compromised to stay at a good level – and doing seven WRC events will mean we will get left behind,” Paddon said.

“So to stay fresh, competition-sharp and to develop ourselves more, we have been able to add five New Zealand Championship rallies with our own team and AP4 car, plus a few other one-off events around the world. In all, we will still have a decent programme with regular events.”

Having missed the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo, Paddon said he was eager to get back in the i20 world rally car at this week’s winter fixture.

“This is the most excited I’ve felt about a rally for a long time, so this is a good sign,” he said. “I’m feeling the best I ever have physically and mentally going into the new season and believe we can translate that feeling into good results.”

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