21 May 2016

Paddon escapes fiery crash

8:48 am on 21 May 2016

New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon walked away unhurt from a fiery crash that destroyed his car at the World Rally Championship's latest round in Portugal.

Hayden Paddon's car burns out.

Hayden Paddon's car burns out. Photo: Supplied

Paddon rolled his Hyundai on stage five before the car caught fire and burnt out.

He and his co-driver, John Kennard, were only able to salvage their helmets from the burning wreckage, with the car burning out in just five minutes.

Minutes later Estonian Ott Tänak rolled his car in the same place and his also caught fire, though with the help of locals he was able to douse the flames and his Ford was not badly damaged.

Paddon was in sixth place before the crash, which happened 11.9km into the stage.

He said he hit a hole which sent his car off the road and down a bank, and the surrounding bushes caught fire after touching the car's hot exhaust.

"Unfortunately we were caught out by a big hole on the inside of a fast left hand corner that developed between the first and second pass.

"This kicked the car into the bank on the opposite side of the road, then bouncing the car down the back. Once come to a rest, the hot exhaust caught the bushes on fire and the rear of the car was almost immediately engulfed in flames.

"The consequences from this small accident are very harsh and I'm very sorry for the whole team who now have a huge task ahead. But we will come back stronger! Sorry everyone and thanks for the continued support."

The crash ended the New Zealander's rally.

Event organisers cancelled the stage, the first of the afternoon, and the remaining cars drove it non-competitively before carrying on to stage six.

Hayden Paddon jumps in Argentina.

Hayden Paddon jumps Photo: Timo Anis Photography