Hayden Paddon will take part in seven events on the 2014 World Rally Championship schedule after inking a deal to join Hyundai Motorsport.

The 26-year-old will drive a new i20 WRC entered under the Hyundai Motorsport N banner on selected events from Rally Italia Sardegna in June.

Taking part in every event bar one following his debut in the car, the New Zealander will also compete on Rally Australia in September, with Finland and Wales Rally GB amongst the events confirmed on his schedule.

Paddon, who won the PWRC title in 2011, made his debut in a full-blown WRC car in Spain last year where he finished eighth in an M-Sport-run Ford Fiesta, and will sample his new Hyundai for the first time in April.

"I'm really proud to be joining Hyundai Motorsport for seven events of the FIA World Rally Championship this year," he said. "It is an incredible opportunity to be part of the team in these very exciting times. It's a chance that we are ready for and are going to work very hard to make the most of to meet the targets and objectives and help the team continue to develop towards 2015. Same as the team, I am here to learn my way through WRC and to succeed in the end.

"It is also a fantastic opportunity for me to work and learn alongside some very experienced people within the team and of course the other drivers.

"From Rally Sardegna onwards, we will be contesting all but one of the events until the end of the WRC season. They are all events that I am looking forward to, and other than Italy and Poland, events that we have experience of. I am particularly excited to also contest Rally Australia, a huge market for Hyundai and also the closest event we now get to home.

"It is literally a dream come true to have a good programme in a world rally car within one of the most exciting teams and manufacturers in world motorsport. This is culmination of 18 years of work, with a lot of sweat and tears and a lot of support from New Zealanders to help make this possible. Now we have to take this massive opportunity with both hands, maximise the potential learning and results from our seven events in the Hyundai i20 world rally car and build our career in the WRC."

Team principal Michel Nandan said he was pleased to welcome Paddon to the team and backed him to be successful behind the wheel of the i20.

"As a manufacturer investing in the World Rally Championship, Hyundai Motorsport aims to support the champions of the future," he said. "For this reason we decided to engage one more car at selected WRC events under the entry Hyundai Motorsport N.

"Hayden is one of the very talented drivers on the WRC scene at the moment and we will support him as much as we can to reach the highest level possible. We are very pleased to welcome him and John [Kennard] to our WRC adventure and we look forward to seeing them in action at the wheel of the Hyundai i20 WRC in a couple of months' time."



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