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Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon in second place at WRC Rally Italy Sardegna

New Zealanders Hayden Paddon and John Kennard have slipped into second place this morning at the WRC Rally Italy Sardinia following a spin.

Rally car driver Hayden Paddon Source: Supplied

But the pair did well to hold onto second place despite an encounter with a rock, damage to their Hyundai i20 WRC's gearbox and nursing it through to the last two stages and back to the service park.

Luck was not on Paddon's side with a spin in stage 17 followed by the gearbox-breaking encounter with a rock.

"Obviously, we wanted to keep the pressure on Sebastien [Ogier] this afternoon and unfortunately we had a spin on the first stage which cost us the lead," said Paddon.

"Unfortunately there was a big rock in the braking point for one corner and the compression broke the gearbox and meant we had to nurse the car through the last two stages. We were very, very lucky to get it this far."

Paddon and Kennard carried out roadside repairs to enable them to tackle the final 42 km Monte Lerno stage at a reduced speed, falling 2m 13.6s adrift of Ogier.

They were at risk of losing second place to Mads Ostberg, but when Ostberg punctured, the Kiwi pair were able to maintain a margin of 1m 12s over Ostberg going into Sunday's final four stages.

"At the time I thought we wouldn't actually get through, that it was the end of our rally," said the 28-year-old.

"Thankfully we made it through to hold onto second place with a buffer. To get here and still be in second place is still a dream result," said Paddon.