Hayden Paddon will contest the final round of the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship in Spain next week after Red Bull stepped in to help the cash-strapped New Zealander.
Paddon dropped out of SWRC title contention on the previous round in France and feared his depleted funds wouldn’t cover the season-closer in Salou from 8-11 November.
However, the 25-year-old has become the latest in a long line of motorsport stars to get Red Bull backing, which will ensure his drive in a Skoda Fabia Super 2000 for the Austria-based Baumschlager Rallye & Racing team.
“It’s amazing to have the support of Red Bull which means we can now compete in Spain,” said Paddon, the 2011 Production Car world champion. “The Skoda will be in Red Bull colours with our current New Zealand partners still featured. It’s very, very good news and a real boost.”
Paddon now wants to prove Red Bull made the right call in lending him its support by demonstrating his speed on the mixed-surface finale.
“We still have an important opportunity to showcase our speed,” said Paddon. “We have seen that Red Bull have been watching our times, and there may be others that they are watching, so we need to try and set some good times up amongst the Volkswagen factory drivers Sebastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen in similar Skoda S2000 cars.”
Meanwhile, more than 30 members of Paddon’s official fan club will be making the 20,000-kilometre trip from New Zealand to Spain to support their hero.