The Kiwi and co-driver John Kennard will crew a Fiesta for the M-Sport Ford squad, completing a comeback that came to an abrupt halt when a test crash in their entry car three days before last month’s Neste Rally Finland sidelined them from the event.
After the Finland setback, Paddon has worked hard with his backers to fund the two events.
“After the disappointment of Finland, there was no way we could let that be the end of it and, together with M-Sport, we’ve worked hard to find some solutions,” said Paddon. “I really can’t thank everyone enough for their continued help and support.”
He said returning to a Word Rally Car would be the highlight, but denied there was pressure to deliver results.
“We’re not treating these rallies as a ‘last chance.’ We want to relax and enjoy the whole experience which will allow the results to come naturally. These are both rallies we know well and I feel I’m at a good level.
“There’s no reason we can’t deliver some strong results, but it’s important we don’t go chasing them – just let them come naturally,” added Paddon, who won the FIA Pacific Cup within the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship last month.
M-Sport team principal Rich Millener said the two rallies would give Paddon the opportunity to remind people of his abilities.
“After what happened in the lead-up to Finland, it was clear a lot of fans were desperate to see Hayden back behind the wheel. We gave him some thoughts and advice on what was needed to compete with us again and within three weeks he was pretty much there,” he said.