Hyundai running four cars at Rally Great Britain
Hayden Paddon will be back in a World Rally Car when Hyundai Motorsport fields four i20 Coupes in Rally Great Britain at the end of October.
The decision is aimed at regaining lost ground in the manufacturers’ championship, in which it trails M-Sport by 64 points with three rounds remaining.
Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville is also fighting for the drivers’ championship and is currently 17 points behind Sebastien Ogier in second position.
Paddon had been benched for this weekend’s Rally de España with the team signing Andreas Mikkelsen for the rest of the season (and subsequently the 2018 and 2019 championships).
He will now join the rest of the Spain line-up, including Neuville and Dani Sordo, for the following round in Wales.
“We had always retained the hope of running four cars in Wales Rally GB,” said team principal Michel Nandan.
“We believe that this competitive line-up gives us a chance of keeping both drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles alive.
“Thierry scored a podium last year, something Andreas achieved in 2015, so we know their potential there.
“Hayden has finished strongly in this event previously, so it will be the perfect occasion for him to return to form.
“Dani, meanwhile, as a previous podium scorer in Wales, will give us a solid benchmark in the fourth car.”
Though running four cars potentially gives Hyundai more scope to get drivers ahead of Ogier, it will not affect its teams’ title effort.
It can still only nominate three cars to score, with just the top two taking points.
Hyundai is yet to announce its plans for the season finale on the Coffs Coast, though Nandan has suggested that it too could be a four-car effort.
It has all four drivers under contract for 2018, when Neuville and Mikkelsen are expected to be its full-time line-up with Sordo and Paddon sharing a third entry.
Rally de España takes place in Cataluña from October 5-8.