Following news that Sébastien Loeb will drive for the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team in 2019, Hayden Paddon has announced that he will not be in the FIA World Rally Championship next year.
The New Zealand driver, who had competed last season in the third i20 WRC he shared with Dani Sordo, wanted to continue with the team for next year but the news that the South Korean manufacturer has signed Loeb means he is now without a drive for 2019.
Speaking in a Facebook video, Paddon said: “It’s with a heavy heart that I have to say there won’t be any WRC for us due to a lack of opportunities.”
“We were made aware of the Loeb decision yesterday and after that we were only offered one rally (with Hyundai), which for everyone’s best interest is not an option for us next year.”
“We’ve tried to look for other options but there simply isn’t many opportunities in the WRC, there’s maybe eight manufacturer seats available so options are through and far between.”
“This is just a small bump in the road, we need to regroup and refocus and you’ll see us taking on the world again.”
The news that Paddon is not to take part in next season’s WRC means that Andreas Mikkelsen will partner Thierry Neuville in full season campaigns for Hyundai, while Sordo and Loeb will share the third car across the season with Loeb competing in six rounds in 2019 .