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Kiwi racer named among 10 best rally drivers in 2010


New Zealand's Hayden Paddon has been named alongside French great Sebastien Loeb as one of world's best rally drivers of 2010

UK's Autosport Magazine named Paddon (23) in a list of the year's top 10 drivers, even though he did not not compete in the top World Championship class.

In his debut season Paddon shot to fame after winning his class in Rally New Zealand, and he continued his form throughout the season to finish third overall in the PWRC driver's championship.

Autosport said that Paddon "came so close to winning the Production Car World Rally Championship in his first season at the highest level is testament to his prodigious talent and his massive commitment to every element of the sport.

"Paddon worked harder than anybody in the Pirelli Star Driver programme. He lost a chunk of weight, learned to drive on asphalt, honed his already sharp skills on the dirt, showed the rest of the world the way to deal with the media and generally did a cracking job as an ambassador for Pirelli and the FIA. His season went south with a puncture in France, but he'd shown his mettle with some outrageously quick times earlier in the season."

Paddon was number 10 in the poll, which was headed by seven-time world champion Loeb. Other drivers to feature were Norway's Petter Solberg (3), France's Sebastian Ogier (4) and Finn Mikko Hirvonen (7).

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