29/05/2017

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McKlein Images

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Sebastian Marshall and John Kennard, Finland

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Professional rally driver Hayden Paddon will continue with his new co-driver Brit Sebastian Marshall for all future events following a mutually-agreed decision between Paddon and long-time co-driver John Kennard.

In a decision announced in March, Kennard was scheduled to conclude his competitive career alongside Paddon at Rally Finland. Marshall, who has worked with Hyundai Motorsport for several years, was announced as Kennard’s replacement not long after. But the Blenheim-based co-driver needed to step aside from his co-driving duties for the recent Rally de Portugal due to a hip injury.

Unfortunately for Kennard, his hip has not had enough time to recover in time for the next event in Sardinia. And with just two more rallies – Poland and Finland – before Marshall is in the car full-time with Paddon, Kennard says he feels it is be best for Paddon to continue with Marshall to build the new partnership for the future.

Kennard says: “Unfortunately my hip’s condition still won’t allow me to take on the rough gravel of Sardinia and while I’d dearly love to get back in the car to finish my WRC career with Hayden in Poland and Finland, it really wouldn’t make any sense. We’ve had a terrible start to the year, so it’s most important to grab some positivity and move forward in the last half of the season. We’ve already seen a spark of that with Hayden and Seb in Portugal, so I’m sure by staying together they can keep it going and they’ll be back on the podium very soon, where I’ll be with them in spirit.”

“It’s not an easy decision,” says Paddon, “but it’s something we all feel is best for the future and something that John is very supportive of and recommends himself.”

Paddon continues: “As we’ve said all along, even though he won’t be in the car, John continues to play an important role in our World Rally Championship programme. John will be at all WRC events this year, supporting us on the gravel rallies and helping us as our gravel crew on the tarmac rallies.

“I’m very pleased that John will co-drive for me when we’re back in New Zealand contesting the Coromandel round of the New Zealand Rally Championship in our Hyundai i20 AP4+ car.

“We’re also looking forward to a special send-off at Rally Finland, an event that has special relevance and importance to John’s career.”

Paddon and Marshall line up for their next WRC event with Hyundai Motorsport on the Italian island of Sardinia, running 8-11 June.

Paddon and Hayden Paddon RallySport Global (HPRG) Ltd appreciates the support of their exclusive partners, Hyundai New Zealand, Pak’nSave and Z Energy, and associate sponsors Scott Sports and All About Signs Timaru.

For more information, please contact:
Kate Gordon-Smith, media manager, HPRG Ltd
kate@relishcommunications.co.nz, 021 587 227