The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team has today scored a sensational maiden victory in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with Thierry Neuville leading team-mate Dani Sordo home for an historic 1-2 finish in only the team’s ninth WRC event. The team, run by Hyundai Motorsport from its factory in Alzenau, around 225km from Rallye Deutschland’s service park in Trier, has only been in existence for 18 months so today’s result is even more poignant. The script for this weekend’s rally was straight out of a fairy tale: from a major crash in shakedown on Thursday that threatened Neuville’s participation in the event, the mechanics working a remarkable 18 hour shift to fix the car in time for Friday morning’s start to winning the team’s debut WRC event on Sunday afternoon. It has been a dramatic rally but one from which the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team has emerged victorious.
New Zealand’s top driver Hayden Paddon has been signed by Hyundai Motorsport to contest seven events in the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in a Hyundai i20 world rally car with long-time co-driver John Kennard.
Paddon and Kennard will compete in Hyundai Motorsport’s third i20 world rally car, entered as Hyundai Motorsport N with the potential to earn points in both the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships.
Paddon is delighted about the opportunity which sees him become the first New Zealander to secure such a professional contract in the modern era of rallying.
You can follow Hayden and his progress in the WRC Rally by following our Hyundai NZ facebook page, or visit his website at www.haydenpaddon.com.
Paddon, the 26-year-old former FIA Production car World Rally Champion from Geraldine in New Zealand’s South Island, is already based in the German city of Frankfurt, less than 50 km from the team’s headquarters in Alzenau. Kennard from his home in Blenheim joins Paddon at each event.
“It is literally a dream come true to have a good programme in a world rally car within one of the most exciting teams and manufacturers in world motorsport,” says Paddon. “This is culmination of 18 years of work, with a lot of sweat and tears and a lot of support from New Zealanders to help make this possible. Now we have to take this massive opportunity with both hands, maximise the potential learning and results from our seven events in the Hyundai i20 WRC and build our career in the WRC.”