Hayden Paddon: Fiery WRC Rally of Portugal crash a 'harsh' outcome

Hayden Paddon says the Rally of Portugal fire that destroyed his Hyundai World Rally Car was far too high a price to pay for what began as a small incident

Paddon's i20 WRC was consumed by fire just minutes after he slid off the road and down a bank on the rally's fifth stage on Friday.

The Rally Argentina winner admitted his dramatic Portuguese exit was tough to take.

"We've gone from one extreme to another," Paddon told Autosport.

"It's disappointing but the worst thing is for the team.

"There's so much effort and attention goes into that car and it puts more strain and pressure on the guys to get one ready for the next round in Sardinia."


The fire was triggered by the car's hot exhaust on dry vegetation.

Describing the incident in detail, Paddon said the problems began with a surprise hole in the road.

"It's frustrating because it doesn't feel like a driving mistake," he said.

"I was caught out by an obstacle on the road, one I wasn't expecting, and the consequences are much, much too harsh.

"It was a flat fourth-gear corner. I was flat through there in the morning, but a big hole had developed on the entry to the corner.

"The hole was hidden behind vegetation and I couldn't see it until I was committed.

"When I hit it, it kicked the car off into the bank on the right.

"We hit a big rock in the bank, that took the front wheel and spun us around, then we went down the bank backwards.

"We would have been back tomorrow, the only damage we had was to the front wheel.

"I was sitting in the car turning it all off, not in any rush to get out of the car.

"As soon as I got out, the whole back of the car up in flames.

"I told John [Kennard, co-driver] we'd better get out pretty quickly.

"That was maybe 10 seconds - by the time the next car came the whole thing was up.

"It wasn't even an option to get fire extinguishers."

Ott Tanak crashed at the same place, but his Ford Fiesta RS WRC was towed clear and saved from the fire.

Previous article WRC Portugal: Kris Meeke leads into Saturday by half a minute
Next article WRC Portugal: Kris Meeke charges away from rivals on Saturday