WRC rising star Haydon Paddon was left as gutted as his car following his accident on Rally Portugal, in which his Hyundai i20 was completely destroyed.
The Kiwi – who won the previous round in Argentina – crashed heavily 11.9km into the second pass of the Ponte de Lima stage.
Unfortunately, after rolling down a hillside the car caught fire and burned out within five minutes as heat from the car’s exhaust set adjacent trees alight.
Soon after, Ott Tanak rolled his Ford Fiesta RS at the same location. It also caught fire, but the uninjured crew were helped by locals in extinguishing the flames with a hose pipe.
All crew uninjured
While Paddon and co-driver John Kennard were unhurt, they were only able to save their crash helmets from the burning wreckage. They came into the event second in the World Championship standings.
“Unfortunately, we were caught out by a big hole in the road on SS5 that sent the car into a roll off the road,” said Paddon. “The heat from the exhaust then set the surrounding bushes on fire, and totally destroyed the car.
“The consequences for a small mistake are very cruel.
“I am very disappointed to have to retire in this way. We started the morning quite well despite some small technical niggles.
“We didn’t lose too much time and were definitely keeping in touch. We were hoping to close the gap in the afternoon loop but it wasn’t to be.
“I’m sorry for the team and vow to come back stronger in Sardinia, a rally where we scored a podium last year.”