'It's a very hard pill to swallow' - Kiwi rally ace Hayden Paddon reflects on incident that saw fan lose life

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Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon opened up on TVNZ 1's Breakfast show today about an accident during the Rally of Monte Carlo at the start of the year where a spectator died following a crash.

The fan was standing in the wrong place in Monte Carlo, but Paddon says the incident still plays in the back of his mind.
Source: Breakfast

Paddon, 30, said the accident has played a lot on his mind and that it took him a while to get back behind the wheel of the car.

"Of course it's a really hard pill to swallow, no one ever wants to be in that position," said the Geraldine Hyundai driver. 

"It was very unfortunate for everyone involved. We have tried to move on but of course it is never going to be easy after such an accident."

Paddon lost control on the ice and slid off the road into a bank where a spectator was standing.

"Mentally that probably took about two or three months to sort of fully recover from," he said. 

"But for sure it still plays a little bit on the back of your mind."

Paddon returned to racing at the Rally of Sweden the following month, dedicating his race to the spectator.

It's been a tough campaign for Paddon - in the last event in Italy he crashed out while well placed. 

"For sure things didn't feel natural like they once used to, that combined with new cars this year – the extra speed we were lacking (cost us) a lot of mileage compared to everyone else.

"Right from the start we were behind the eight ball and it has taken us a bit of time to catch up."

Paddon sits eighth on the leader board. 

The next event is in Poland at the end of the month. 

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