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BRC Racing Team excited for ERC title defence with Paddon

Paddon

BRC Racing Team e New Zealand’s most successful rally competitors, Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, have confirmed they will contest the 2024 FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) in a bid to defend their ERC title which they won on their first attempt last year.

Paddon knows he’s got a challenge ahead of him during the forthcoming ERC season where he’ll be maintaining his long connection with Hyundai, again driving a Hyundai i20 N Rally 2 car managed by BRC Racing Team.

“We’ve been working to confirm our return to the European Rally Championship over the New Zealand summer and I’m very pleased, that with the support of BRC Racing Team, Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai New Zealand and Pirelli, we are now heading back to Europe to try and defend our title,” says Paddon.

“Returning for this second ERC season, I expect that John and I will have targets painted on our backs with other competitors striving to beat us. We expect a tougher fight this year, but John and I will look to lift our performances this year on some of the events we will now have experience of – it will be an exciting year.” – Added the New Zealand driver.

After a fabulous 2023, BRC Racing Team and Paddon are very pleased to work together again, to try to achieve important successes again.

“Everyone at BRC was incredible to work with last year while John and I were competing in the various ERC events across Europe for the first time. The combined efforts of BRC, Hyundai Motorsport and our own Paddon Racing Group (PRG) team in New Zealand enabled us to progress development of the Hyundai i20 N Rally 2 car”.

Speaking about Paddon’s ERC campaign, Gabriele Rizzo, BRC Racing Team Principal, says: “It’s never easy to put program together at this level and it was quite a challenge indeed along the winter. We must thank the effort made by Hayden and all his partners and sponsors, in particular Hyundai New Zealand. We’ll work hard to achieve the ambitious target to win a second title in a row and this will be surely helped by having great technical partners like Hyundai MotorSport Customer Racing and Pirelli. We expect a fierce and refreshed list of competitors, definitely will not be easy. We’ll need to perform at our best with solid results with the same motivation with which we started last season.”

Following on from its 70th-anniversary season in 2023, the ERC calendar has been refreshed for 2024. The championship takes in three well-established asphalt events, namely Rally Islas Canarias, Rally di Roma Capitale and Barum Czech Rally Zlín, as well as two popular gravel rallies in Sweden and Estonia. There’s also a new-look Rally Hungary on gravel to open the season in April, and two other asphalt events on the ERC calendar for the first time, namely Rali Ceredigion in the United Kingdom and the season-concluding Rally Silesia in Poland.

Paddon says he’s ready for the challenge of more asphalt rallies as well as four new ERC events.

“We contested half of the eight rallies last year so at least we have more experience than we had 12 months ago. That leaves half as new-to-us rallies with more tarmac events than gravel. We’re up for that challenge because I think our performance on tarmac has come a long way in the last few years, so we back ourselves to be equally as competitive on tarmac as we are on gravel.”

A unique aspect of ERC is the battle between tyre manufacturers and Paddon’s Hyundai will be fitted with Pirelli tyres. “I’m proud that Pirelli have played a big part in my career since 2010. We saw last year that Pirelli was the best all round tyre for the whole championship and feel they will give us the best chance for success again this year.”

There’s a huge amount about the ERC that both Paddon and Kennard enjoy such as the close competition, passionate fans, and great atmosphere.

“The European Championship is pretty much what rallying is all about to me – a lot of very cool rallies and, to be blunt, a lot less politics – there’s a lot about it that appeals to me. Of course, we’re keeping an eye on the WRC and what’s happening there in case there’s ever a chance for us to be back at the top into that environment. In the meantime, the ERC is the best fit for us, where I am in my career.”