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Hayden Paddon concedes WRC career all but over after Rally Australia cancelled


The cancellation of this week's Australian leg of the World Rally Championship appears to have seen the end of Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon's time in the WRC.

Hayden Paddon Source: Photosport

Axed by Hyundai after five years, 32-year-old Paddon was given a lifeline by Ford ahead of Rally Finland in August, realistically a last chance to prove his worth to other teams.

However, Paddon's return was over before it could begin, crashing out in practice to leave his WRC ambitions hanging by a thread.

Paddon had intended to use this week's Rally Australia, the final round of the current season, as a chance to pitch himself to new teams and sponsors. However with the event cancelled due to the ongoing wildfires, Paddon's ambitions have been halted.

Speaking to 1 NEWS today, Paddon revealed the financial toll of having to fund himself as a driver was too much to bear.

"The future for us in the WRC is looking slimmer now than it already was," Paddon said.

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Paddon’s back home after a rollercoaster ride in the World Rally Championship. Source: Seven Sharp

"It's definitely pretty frustrating. It's out of our control, it is quite unbelievable really. The two events we've tried to get to this year, we haven't been able to make the start line on both.

"Emotionally, it's pretty draining for everyone that's helped us and supported us. We've had to raise over $600,000 to make these two events happen, and it's equated to absolutely nothing.

"The last two or three years, the way that we've been pushed to the outside when I know we have so much more to give, when I know that we can be delivering for a team.

"We just simply haven't been given a fair chance really. That's the most frustrating aspect of it."

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Dumped by Hyundai, Paddon will drive for Ford in Finland to prove he belongs in WRC. Source: 1 NEWS

"A lot of other drivers will just sit back and wait for things to drop on their doorstep, we've tried to be proactive and make things happen, and it just still hasn't happened for us.

"At least we can say we tried, but that's just the way it is."

"We're pretty much at the end of things financially, there's a lot of people who've put a lot of money in.

"It's not a bottomless pit, this year was about trying to showcase what we can still offer, and then use that as a platform to go and speak to a few teams about next year, and obviously we haven't been able to do that.

"We are heading towards the end of the line now."

While his future might seem bleak, Paddon also says that he's hopeful that this latest setback won't be the end of his decorated career.

"We'll never give up, but it's probably time to go home and regroup.

"We can't put all our eggs in one basket, we've got to focus on a lot of other things going on in the motorsport world."

Paddon would leave the WRC with one rally win, coming in Argentina in 2016, along with eight podium finished from his 81 rallies.