Hayden Paddon targeting 2018 as championship year

by Vince Pettit

Hayden Paddon has targeted 2018 as the year he will become FIA World Rally Champion in an interview with The Timaru Herald in his native New Zealand.

The 29-year-old was back home visiting friends and family while there is a short break in the calendar (due to Rally China being cancelled) and he revealed his title ambitions to the local press.

“My goal is to fight for the championship in 2018. Next year is another stepping stone.” said Paddon

Paddon has been with the Hyundai Motorsport team since 2014 and achieved his first ever FIA World Rally Championship victory earlier this year in Argentina and he believes he will have another 10 years competing at the top level of the sport.

“You are not in your prime until late twenties or early thirties. If we can win a world title, once will not be enough.”

The New Zealander isn’t afraid to push as hard as he can when he is competing and summed things up in one sentence:

“If you don’t bring the car back in less than ideal condition a few times a year, then they probably think you are not trying hard enough.”

Hayden Paddon - Hyundai Motosport - Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Following on from his impressive first win, he ran out of luck at the next rally in Portugal after a small mistake saw the car roll down the hillside, unfortunately the hot exhausts touched the shrubs and the fire ensued.

“We are very fortunate even when we burnt the car to an absolute shell earlier in the year, it was obviously a big loss for the team. There were no hard feelings.”

Looking forward to the rest of the year, he is planning to continue pushing the Hyundai Motorsport New Generation i20 to the maximum as he looks to get back on the podium.

“I want fight for another win. Argentina feels like a long time ago.”

Paddon is currently in third equal position in this year’s championship, alongside team-mate Thierry Neuville.

You can read the full interview with Paddon here.

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