Hayden Paddon could make WRC return on Wales Rally GB
New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon could be about to return to the WRC on Wales Rally GB this October. After a recent call up to the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team in Finland earlier in the year, which finished before it even started after having an unrepairable accident during a pre-event test, it's looking likely Paddon will feature on this years Wales Rally GB, kicking off in the heart of Llandudno, Wales.
Accident damage from Hayden Paddon's crash during a pre event test before Rally Finland. Image credit: WRC.com
M-Sport have already confirmed that the 2017 Wales Rally GB winner and local hero, Elfyn Evans will return to the wheel of a latest generation Ford Fiesta WRC for the round of Great Britain where he hopes to return to the top step of the podium in front of his home crowd. M-Sport will also field two other top-spec Ford Fiesta WRC cars in Wales with the drivers also being confirmed as Scandinavian duo Teemu Sunninen and Pontus Tidemand.
Paddon drove for Hyundai World Rally team between 2014 - 2018. Image credit: Makary
With M-Sport already fielding 3 latest generation World Rally Cars it looks unlikely for Paddon's drive will be in a top tier rally car. However with the Cumbrian firm are now rolling out the all new model of the eco-boost Ford Fiesta R5, dubbed the Fiesta R5 MKII (nostalgic throwback?). Could M-Sport be willing to give the Kiwi driver chance to shine again in an all new R5 car and put the machine through its paces and show the market what it really can do?
Hayden also competes in nantional events in New Zealand and Australia in his AP4 spec rally car. Image credit: Hayden Paddon
M-Sport and Ford have sold more R5 cars to customers than any other manufacturer since the introduction of the R5 class in 2013 and the sale of R5 cars around the world to privateers is an imperative source of income for the company. Not only would this drive on Rally GB give Hayden Paddon the opportunity to get himself back into the WRC service park and push for a full time drive in 2020, a strong result here in M-Sport's back yard could increase the number of new Ford Fiesta R5 MKIIs sold to privateers - just in time for the new season in 2020.
It also goes to say that M-Sport and Malcolm Wilson gave Hayden his first taste of WRC machinery in Spain 2013; we have seen it already this year, could this be the start of something for 2020?
Let the rumours commence!
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