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Paddon awaits new car for Rally Sardinia

NZN 22/05/2016

Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon's team are in a race to get him to the start line of the next World Rally Championship event in Italy.

Mechanics are building Paddon and his co-driver John Kennard a new car from scratch after their Hyundai i20 was destroyed in a fire when the pair crashed on the fifth stage of Rally Portugal on Friday.

They were forced to retire and dropped from second to fourth in the overall WRC standings after the Portugal event finished on Sunday.

Andreas Mikkelsen was second behind British winner Kris Meeke and slips in front of Paddon, along with fellow-Norwegian Mads Ostberg.

Three-time series defending champion Sebastien Ogier of France was third in Portugal to extend his sizeable lead through five rounds.

Paddon is hopeful of testing his new car for the first time about a week out from the Rally of Sardinia starting on June 12.

In a question and answer session on his Twitter feed, Paddon felt sheepish about creating the work for his team but expressed confidence they could complete the "massive job" inside two weeks.

Paddon says it was a heavy price to pay for what was a minor mistake, coming in the wake of their breakthrough win at Rally Argentina in April.

Their car was thrown off line by a hole that had formed on a heavily-rutted corner.

Several other drivers struggled to negotiate the bend, including Estonian Ott Tanak, who ended up down the same bank as Paddon.

Paddon praised the safety of the cars, with neither engine exploding despite long exposure to flames from the adjacent burning bush.

Paddon and Kennard won their first WRC stage at last year's Rally Sardinia, where they led overall for a spell and finished second overall.

WRC standings: Sebastien Ogier (France, Volkswagen) 114 points, Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway, Volkswagen) 67, Mads Ostberg (Norway, M-Sport) 58, Hayden Paddon (NZ, Hyundai) 57, Dani Sordo (Spain, Hyundai) 56.

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