Hyundai adds Hayden Paddon to its World Rally Championship squad
|By David Evans||Thursday, February 27th 2014, 09:56 GMT|
Hyundai has added Kiwi Hayden Paddon to its burgeoning list of drivers for the 2014 World Rally Championship.
The 26-year-old will drive an i20 WRC on seven rounds this season, including the series' sole visit down under for Rally Australia.
Paddon's car will be entered under the banner of Hyundai Motorsport N, in the same way that Andreas Mikkelsen's Polo R WRC is entered under the moniker of Volkswagen Motorsport II.
The 2011 Production class world champion will test the i20 WRC for the first time in April.
"It's an incredible opportunity to be part of the team in these very exciting times," said Paddon.
"It's a chance that we are ready for and are going to work very hard to make the most of to meet the targets and objectives and help the team continue to develop towards 2015.
"Same as the team, I am here to learn my way through WRC and to succeed in the end.
"It is also a fantastic opportunity for me to work and learn alongside some very experienced people within the team and of course the other drivers."
Paddon will continue to be co-driven by John Kennard.
Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan added: "As a manufacturer investing in the World Rally Championship, Hyundai Motorsport aims to support the champions of the future.
"Hayden is one of the very talented drivers on the WRC scene at the moment and we will support him as much as we can to reach the highest level possible."
While Paddon has now started 29 rounds of the world championship, only one of them has been in a World Rally Car, when he guided a Ford Fiesta RS WRC to eighth on last year's Catalunya Rally.
Hyundai's main line-up comprises a full-time entry for Thierry Neuville and partial programmes for Dani Sordo, Juho Hanninen and Chris Atkinson.