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 Dani will also contest seven rallies, with the team running four cars in Portugal.

They began their season in Sweden in February, with a strong top five finish. The pair held fourth place overall for most of the second and final days of action on the WRC’s only snow rally. However, an error, described by Hayden as annoying, on the rally’s 19th and final stage, combined with the pace of fifth-placed Esapekka Lappi meant he took fourth in the final rally standings, dropping Hayden into fifth.

The following month Hayden announced he will contest five 2018 New Zealand Rally Championship events among this year’s WRC commitments with Hyundai Motorsport.

“It’s about staying competition fit; and while the events and car maybe different, you cannot substitute being in a competition environment,” the 30-year-old said of his schedule which includes the Otago, Whangarei, South Canterbury, Coromandel and Rally New Zealand NZRC rounds, as well September’s iconic Ashley Forest Rallysprint.

He would go on to win each of the five NZRC events by considerable margins, setting a multitude of new stage records and wrap up the championship a round early. Winning the final round of the NZRC – the Hyundai NZ Raglan Rally of the Coast in October – in his Hyundai i20 AP4+ car, gave Hyundai New Zealand their first-ever NZRC Manufacturers’ Championship title.

Crashing out of WRC Rally Portugal while in the lead – trying to avoid a rock which had rolled onto the road – Hayden injured his back and retired from the May event. With only a few weeks until Rally Italia Sardegna in early June, Hayden underwent some swift back rehab. He and Seb put together a consistent, clean run to bring their Hyundai i20 WRC coupe home in fourth place on the unseasonably rain-drenched roads.

Driving to team orders to secure the best possible Manufacturers’ Championship points for the team, Hayden and Seb finished in a well-deserved fourth place at Rally Finland, in what was the Kiwi driver’s ninth time competing there.

In September they moved up into third at Rally Turkey. Hayden’s first podium of the 2018 season and the seventh WRC podium finish of his career.

The intensity of the competition showed at October’s Rally GB. After three days and 317.74 kilometres of rallying through northern and mid-Wales, just 15 seconds separated Hayden’s Hyundai Motorsport team-mate Thierry Neuville in fifth place and Mads Ostberg in eighth. Hayden was seventh – only 2.5 seconds off his other Hyundai Motorsport team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen who finished sixth.

The following month Hayden and Seb once again wrapped up their season with a strong result at Rally Australia. They finished in second and were the highest-placed Hyundai team.

Just before Christmas, Hayden received the extremely disappointing news that he did not have a WRC drive with Hyundai Motorsport in 2019. They had signed nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb on a six-rally deal instead.

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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