WRC: Paddon and Sordo will swap places at Rally Australia
New Zealander Hayden Paddon, the driver of Hyundai’s ‘second WRC team’, has been promoted to the main factory team for next month’s Rally Australia. Paddon will swap places with Spaniard Dani Sordo which implies that the Kiwi and his co-driver John Kennard will take over the Hyundai i20 WRC with number 8, while Sordo and his co-driver Marc Marti will move to car number 20.
This change will allow Paddon to score for the manufacturers World Championship points, together with the first driver Thierry Neuville. The primary reason behind this switch is Paddon’s familiarity with the Australian road surface, which the team expects will lead to his achieving better results than Sordo.
“We are in a tight fight for the second spot in the manufacturers’ championship with just a few points separating us from Citroen. After careful consideration, we have agreed that adapting to the advantage that our line-up offers us the best chance to secure the points we need on this unique and challenging event. Hayden is very familiar with the rally and after his recent strong performances on gravel he is more than capable of supporting us in this battle. Dani did not compete in Australia over the past few years – and he never took part in the Coffs Harbour based event – so he has less experience of the particular demands of this rally,” said team boss Michel Nandan.
“I’m very pleased that the team has faith in me but at the end of the day it is just a car number change for me. I will have the same approach to the rally as always, but this time I will be happy to challenge the others for points that can help the team in the manufacturer standings,” Paddon added.
After eight rounds in the drivers’ championship standings, Paddon is currently ranked one place above Sordo. Paddon is at the 9th spot with 44 points and Sordo is ranked 10th with 39 points. The next event is the ADAC Rally Deutschland, Rally Australia is scheduled for the 10th-13th September.
Photo: Hyundai Motorsport