NEW Zealand’s Hayden Paddon says he is close to confirming an expanded FIA World Rally Championship programme for 2015, including a return to Rally Australia on the New South Wales Coffs Coast in September.
The 2011 Production Car World Champion stepped up to the World Rally Car category this year with Hyundai Motorsport’s ‘N’ team.
Some impressive results, including sixth at Coates Hire Rally Australia and a maiden WRC stage win at Rally de Espana, kept the 27-year-old in contention for a full-time drive with the Korean manufacturer’s main squad next year, but he missed out when Dani Sordo was signed for a 10-round programme alongside team leader Thierry Neuville.
This weekend’s Wales Rally GB is Paddon’s sixth outing this year in the Hyundai i20 WRC.
Before the start of the event, Paddon revealed that his WRC dream was alive and well.
“We’ll definitely be in the world championship next year in a World Rally Car, but there are a lot of details to be sorted,” he told WRC.com.
“It won’t be a full season, because we won’t be in Monte; instead the focus is to try and do all nine gravel rallies (including Rally Australia on 10-13 September). We’re not quite there yet, so we need to keep negotiating.”
Paddon is believed to be talking to both M-Sport and Hyundai about next season.
“The preference is Hyundai but there are some other options.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to announce something in the next couple of weeks. That’s when I hope to put pen to paper.”