PHOTO: Before they joined Hyundai and Subaru respectively, Seb Marshall and Molly Taylor paired for Scouts Rally SA in 2013 during a four-season partnership (Michael Vettas pic)
HYUNDAI WRC driver Hayden Paddon will have Englishman Seb Marshall – Molly Taylor’s former co-driver – as his new partner after the veteran John Kennard retires later this season.
Marshall, 27, will join the Kiwi ace in the WRC from Rally Germany in August, but before then the pair will debut in Italy’s Rallye Sanremo at the end of this month.
His appointment to one of the hottest berths in world rallying was announced the day after Kennard, 58, and Paddon revealed the end of their highly-successful 12-year partnership.
Paddon and Marshal have already tested together in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, but will use an i20 R5 in Sanremo to develop their relationship and also for Paddon to improve his tarmac-driving skills before the next WRC round in Corsica on 6-9 April.
From 2011 to 2014, Marshall co-drove for Australia’s Molly Taylor in a total of 26 WRC, European, British and Intercontinental championship rounds. He’ll contest his first WRC Down Under at Kennards Hire Rally Australia on 16-19 November, but he has already been in an Australian event with Taylor – the Scouts Rally SA round in 2013.
After Taylor returned home to tackle the ARC from 2015 – taking a history-making title last year in a factory Subaru – Marshall moved alongside Hyundai number four driver Kevin Abbring. The pair contested six WRC events last season and working together on development of the Hyundai customer R5 car.
“Following the news that John Kennard is set to sign off at Rally Finland, I’m delighted to finally confirm that I will take up the mantle of co-driving for Hayden Paddon,” Marshall wrote on social media today.
“I’ll step into the car from Rally Germany, meanwhile HP and I are doing plenty of testing – loving the ’17 WRC car! Before all that we take on one of my fav events, the classic Rallye Sanremo in a Hyundai Motorsport i20 R5 in two weeks’ time.”