Paddon dropped for Rally Spain

Dale Budge,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 6 September 2017, 10:10AM
 Hayden Paddon dropped from the Hyundai World Rally Team (NZ Herald)
Hayden Paddon dropped from the Hyundai World Rally Team (NZ Herald)

New Zealand's Hayden Paddon has been dropped from the Hyundai World Rally Team for next month's Rally Spain.

The 30-year-old has made way for Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen, who has signed on with the Korean manufacturer for the final three events of the year.

It has been a disappointing season for Paddon, who has struggled to find consistency - failing to finish four events while recording just one podium finish.

Paddon will miss the tarmac test but is expected to return for the final two rounds on gravel - Rally Great Britain and Rally Australia - with Dani Sordo standing aside.

"Reaching this decision was not easy, but we felt it was necessary to reaffirm ourselves in the championship battle," Hyundai boss Michel Nandan said.

"Discussions with Andreas have been ongoing since he was out of a drive but we had nothing to offer him, as our line-up was fixed. However, with us losing ground, we decided to re-evaluate the situation. We had an open discussion with all three of our crews, and informed them of our decision to make this adjustment.

"The precise line-up for Spain has been made, but we will confirm our crews for Wales and Australia in due course. For now, though, we welcome Andreas and Anders into Hyundai Motorsport and look forward to getting our 2017 championship back on track from Spain onwards."

Mikkelsen is thought to have agreed to join Hyundai for the final rounds of the year after being promised a fulltime drive next season.

He had a successful stint with Volkswagen but found himself out of a drive when the German outfit pulled out of the WRC late last year. With most teams having contracted drivers by that stage he was forced to sit out the first few events of 2017 before joining the Citroen team for selected events this year.

"I am delighted to be joining Hyundai Motorsport and to be back in the WRC for the next three rallies," he said. "It is a great team with some very talented people, and the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC has proven itself to be a winning car on every surface. I had the chance to test on gravel earlier this year. I had a really positive feeling, which I am sure we will find again in these last three events of the season.

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