World champion rally drivers Hayden Paddon and John Kennard will contest the final round of the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship in Spain next month with Red Bull Energy Drink joining Paddon's team as a major sponsor for the event.
For RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España, which runs 9 to 11 November, Paddon and Kennard will run the same Skoda Fabia S2000 car prepared by their Austrian team Baumschlager Rallye & Racing (BRR) that they have used for the past three events.
"It's amazing to have the support of Red Bull which means we can now compete in Spain," says Paddon. "The Skoda will be in Red Bull colours with our current New Zealand partners still featured.
"It's very, very good news and a real boost. Our team manager at BRR, Raimund Baumschlager, has been pivotal in helping me to develop as a driver, but also linking me into their team's close connection with Red Bull established over many seasons of rallying."
Paddon adds: "The reality is the chance of winning the Super 2000 championship is all but over unless the leading three competitors have disastrous results in Spain. However we do still have an important opportunity to showcase our speed. From the start of the year we've said demonstrating outright pace is just as important, if not more so, than winning the championship.
"We have seen that Red Bull have been watching our times, and there may be others that they are watching, so we need to try and set some good times up amongst the Volkswagen factory drivers Sébastien Ogier and Andreas Milkenson in similar Skoda S2000 cars."
Paddon, originally from Geraldine and currently based in the UK city of Northampton, will head to Spain after a small Austrian gravel test and be joined by his Blenheim-based co-driver Kennard to tackle an event that they also contested last season.
"Every one in HPRG continues to work very hard on plans for next season, and a good result in Spain will certainly help with that. At this stage, we have an agreement with Red Bull for just this one event, but of course we'll be doing all we can to deliver a strong performance and then who knows what might happen from there.
"It is an honour to be part of the Red Bull family and we will be pushing hard to repay the faith that they have put in us," says the 25-year-old who became the first New Zealander to win a world rally championship in 2011.
The RallyRACC Catalunya is a mixed surface event with one day taking place on gravel and two days run on asphalt and is based on Spain's Costa Daurada in the seaside tourist town of Salou where Paddon was based earlier this year.
More than 30 New Zealand rally fans are travelling to Spain on the official Hayden Paddon New Zealand World Rally Team tour, excited and ready to support their Kiwi stars.
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