2020 started with great positivity – a goal to win three rally championship titles.

First was to be another New Zealand Rally Championship. Second was to add in enough Australian events to win the FIA Pacific Cup for the second consecutive year. Third was to also take out the outright FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship title 20 years since another New Zealander, the infamous Possum Bourne, last won the APRC.

In March, Hayden and the team got the year underway in winning form, using the Hyundai AP4 in hillclimb mode to win the inaugural Ben Nevis Station Golden 1200 Hillclimb, an event they also developed and managed.

Of a weekend when he was both driver and event organiser, Hayden said: “I probably had an unfair advantage, but you’ve got to take it when you can. Huge thanks to everyone who’s been part of it. We’ve set a benchmark for next year. The Hyundai has run absolutely faultlessly so huge thanks to the guys. The driving was the easiest part of the weekend to be fair!”

Then Covid happened. Everyone’s plans had to wait, and all rallies were cancelled…

So Paddon Rallysport kept to themselves and focused on the design, development and fabrication of the Hyundai Kona EV rally car.

They worked as hard as they could and despite Covid’s best efforts to interrupt the arrival of various components, Hayden and his six-strong team of engineers and designers revealed the completed, fully functional Hyundai Kona EV rally car to the world at a launch at Hyundai Motors New Zealand in Auckland in November.

The project marked a significant milestone in New Zealand automotive and motorsport history, with 80 per cent of the car designed in-house in terms of chassis design, engineering, aerodynamics, suspension, steering, cooling and electrics. Austrian company Stohl Advanced Research and Development (STARD) contributed to the project as Paddon Rallysport’s technical partner, providing guidance and advise.

Another sad casualty of Covid was Rally New Zealand which was meant to return to New Zealand’s shores in September. As lockdowns allowed, RNZ organisers took the opportunity of showcasing the fantastic rally roads north of Auckland with a one-day City of Auckland Rally in November. Regrettably, the following day, Hayden crashed heavily at the Battle of Jacks Ridge, the disappointment pretty much summing up a challenging year.

European Champions!

In 2023, Hayden Paddon had an exceptional season, solidifying his status as one of rallying's premier talents. Paddon clinched the European Rally Championship (ERC) title, showcasing his prowess across diverse terrains and against fierce competition. His remarkable...

read more

Taking on the World – Kiwi Style

In 2022, Hayden Paddon, alongside co-driver John Kennard, had a standout season, highlighted by their victory in the FIA World Rally2 Championship category at the Repco Rally New Zealand. Driving a Hyundai i20 N Rally2, they secured a significant triumph, setting a...

read more


The new year got underway with similar goals to the previous year – to contest the full New Zealand Rally Championship and also the Australian rounds of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship if Covid travel restrictions allowed. Hayden and John were happy to earn their...

read more


2019 heralded a new era for Paddon Rallysport with a renewed international focus from their new HQ at Highlands Motorsport Park in Central Otago, New Zealand. The team now enjoyed great testing facilities literally on their doorstep on the world-class racetrack. Early...

read more


Hayden’s 2018 rally programme was also reduced by Hyundai Motorsport. He and Seb will share the updated #6 Hyundai i20 Coupe world rally car with team-mate Dani Sordo and the Spaniard’s new co-driver Carlos del Barrio. Hayden will contest seven of the 13 rallies and...

read more