Paddon primed for Canberra charge

Kiwi Hayden Paddon has confirmed he will take part in next year’s RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) season opener in Canberra.

In a significant boost for the ARC, Paddon will steer the Walkem Motorsport prepared Hyundai i20 R5, with technical assistance from Paddon Rallysport at March’s Netier National Capital Rally, with a potential full 2021 ARC campaign also on the cards for the former WRC star.

Paddon told he was excited to be part of the Canberra event and to be back behind the wheel of a car that he last steered in August 2019 as part of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship at the Pedders Eureka Rush Rally in Victoria.

“I am thrilled to again be working with the team at Walkem Motorsport and being part of the Australian Championship, beginning with the Netier National Capital Rally in March, and big thanks to Graeme, Marcus and Scott for this opportunity” Paddon said.

“For me, the Canberra event is a really exciting prospect. The only time I have been there was for my very first overseas trip as a holiday when I was 13 years old to watch the rally – so its exciting to return 20 years later to drive in the event.

“As we look towards next year, we are also discussing the potential of running a full ARC season in the Hyundai which would certainly be an exciting prospect for both myself and the Walkem Motorsport team. We hope to be able to confirm our full plans shortly.”

Photo: Wishart Media

Walkem Motorsport’s Graeme Walkem was thrilled to be working with Paddon again in 2021.

“We have a great relationship with Hayden and are really pleased he will be back in the Walkem Motorsport prepared Hyundai R5 machine,” Walkem said.

“Hayden has already shown how quick he can be in this car, having won the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship after a podium at Ballarat in 2019. We know Hayden will again be up for the fight with the top ARC contenders and will be eager to shake up the ARC podium.”

Paddon will also compete on the Championship’s control Hoosier tyres, meaning he will be eligible for Championship points.

Round one of the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship, the Netier National Capital Rally, takes place on 26-28 March, 2021 in the forests surrounding Canberra.