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Tue 04 Apr 2023

Paddon underlines ERC title aim with Canarias entry

Hayden Paddon has underlined is FIA European Rally Championship title intensions by confirming he will be coming to the Rally Islas Canarias ball after all.

The New Zealander tops the provisional ERC standings following his dramatic final-stage victory on the season-opening Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto last month.

However, with ERC regulations allowing drivers to count all but one score, Paddon and his BRC Racing Team hadn’t originally planned to include the all-Tarmac Rally Islas Canarias on their schedules for 2023.

But as 35-year-old Paddon explained, missing the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria-based event from 4 - 6 May was not an option.

“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’ round, we decided together it was too early in the season for that,” said Paddon. “From what I have seen, Rally Islas Canarias looks like a beautiful rally and I can’t wait. To help us prepare, we will compete at Rally di Alba as we have not yet driven the new Hyundai i20 N Rally2 on Tarmac – so a perfect test rally.”

Paddon added: “I must say a huge thank you to the team. Not only a world-class team to work with as in Portugal, but the way we are working together with these extra events and plan for the season will give us all the best chance of trying to win the ERC.”

Gabriele Rizzo, Team Principal of BRC Racing Team, said: “Fafe’s success boosted our commitment for the season so we are happy to confirm with Hayden the participation at these two great events. Thanks to the support of our partners and Pirelli.

“Alba is our home rally we have already won in past years. It’s a great event, that we really look to see in FIA ERC in next years, well organised 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, with our Hyundai i20 N Rally2 before Canarias.”

Rally Regione Piemonte (formerly Rally di Alba) takes place from 13 - 15 April and counts as round two of the Sparco Italian Rally Championship.

While John Kennard, Paddon’s long-term co-driver, will partner him on Rally Islas Canarias, young New Zealander Jared Hudson will co-drive in Alba.