Hayden Paddon’s Portuguese win at the opening round of this year’s European Rally Championship has made his busy schedule even busier – the New Zealander will add Rally Islas Canarias and Rally Regione Piemonte to his calendar.
Paddon hadn’t initially intended to take on Rally Islas Canarias (May 4-6), but victory in Fafe has brought even greater commitment to landing this year’s ERC title from the BRC Racing Team which runs Paddon.
The Kiwi will run the Italian squad’s Hyundai i20 N Rally2 on both rallies, starting with the Alba event which comes as preparation for the Las Palmas-based second ERC round of the season.
Fresh from his Otago Rally win at the weekend, Paddon said: “We are really excited to compete in Alba and Canarias.
“After Portugal we met with the team to discuss what was going to strengthen our championship bid the most and, while originally, we planned to have Canarias as our drop-score round, we decided together it was too early in the season for that.
“From what I have seen, Canarias looks like a beautiful rally and I can’t wait.
“To help us prepare, we will compete at Rally Regione Piemonte some weeks before. This is a perfect test rally as we haven’t driven the i20 on Tarmac yet. I must say a huge thank you for the team. As we saw with the win in Portugal, BRC is a world-class team – and working together like this is going to give us the best possible chance of winning the ERC.”
BRC team principal Gabriele Rizzo said the locality of Rally Regione Piemonte – an event Paddon has competed on previously – was another draw.
“The Fafe success boosted our commitment for the season, so we are happy to confirm with Hayden the participation to these two great events – thanks to the support of our partners and Pirelli,” he said.
“Alba [Rally Regione Piemonte] is our home rally, one we have already won in past years. It’s a great event, one that we really look to see in FIA ERC in next years. It’s well organized by passionate people in a fantastic location with challenging roads.
“We will approach it without specific preparation as it will be used to build up mileage on Tarmac, both for the team and for Hayden.”
Paddon will be co-driven by regular navigator John Kennard on the Spanish island, while 19-year-old Jared Hudson will read the notes aboard the i20 in Italy.