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Paddon crashes out of Italian rally

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/06/2017

An emotional Hayden Paddon has blown his lead in Rally Italia Sardegna after shattering his car's suspension in what he calls an amateur mistake.

Kiwi Paddon apologised to his team for a mistake on the 13th stage, before which he had held a 9.4sec advantage on the field in the World Rally Championship event.

The overnight leader, he had stretched out his advantage slightly before disaster struck on the 15km stage when the back of his car swiped a bank.

Paddon limped to the end of the stage with flames billowing from the rear right of his Hyundai, dropping 1min 20sec. The damage was too great to continue.

"Amateur mistake," he said, soon after crossing the line.

"I turned in too early and clipped a bank on the inside. I've let everybody down."

Later on social media, Paddon wrote that he was "devastated" at the outcome, continuing a problem-marred season in which was eighth overall.

He cleared British navigator Sebastian Marshall of any blame.

"No one to blame but myself. Hugely sorry for the team and everyone supporting us.

"What has happened has happened - it's important I learn from this and put things right at the next event."

Paddon's demise left Estonian Ott Tanak in front entering the final four stages on Sunday.

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