HAYDEN Paddon has accepted full responsibility for the crash that took him out of rally Italia Sardegna today and apologised for what he described as “a stupid mistake”.
The New Zealander was in seventh position when he went off on the last corner of the 15km Tula stage (SS7).
His Hyundai i20 ran wide on the asphalt left-hander and swiped a tree, which ripped off a rear wheel and sent the car rolling end-over-end down a steep bank. It came to rest among trees and bushes 25 metres below the road.
The crash came exactly three weeks after Paddon went off at Vodafone Rally de Portugal and his car was destroyed by fire. That car’s Italian replacement was built from scratch in just seven days thanks to a huge effort from his German-based team.
Taking to Twitter, Paddon wrote: “No word . . . incredibly disappointed and sorry that I let everyone down again from another silly mistake. We will bounce back and I hope this is just a small dip we are going through to help us to be stronger for the future.”
This evening in service Paddon was still struggling to come to terms with the disappointment.
“To put it off the road like that, and with such a stupid mistake, is pretty gut-wrenching – especially two rallies in a row,” he told WRC.com.
“Coming off the high of Argentina it’s all come crashing down again.
“Everybody at the team has been very supportive and to a certain extent it’s part of the sport, but I’ve never crashed twice in a row in my career.”
Hyundai confirmed the car was too badly damaged for Paddon to restart on Saturday.