Kiwi WRC driver Hayden Paddon airlifted to hospital after crashing out of Rally Portugal

Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon has been airlifted hospital after sustaining a back injury when he crashed out of Rally Portugal this morning.

The 31-year-old hurt himself after an accident in on the second run at the Ponte de Lima test and was taken to hospital in Porto as a precaution.

His co-driver, Seb Marshall, was uninjured in the event.

To add insult to injury, prior to the crash Paddon had retaken the lead at the event after earning his second stage win of the event in the precious stage.

Hyundai team manager Alain Penasse said the crash happened around 2.4 kilometres into SS7 - the final gravel test of the day.

"In a right corner, Hayden tried to avoid a stone on the inside," Penasse told Autosport.

"He went to the outside of the corner and went to the ditch. The ditch was ending and the car hit the end of the ditch with a strong impact on Hayden's side.

"They both came out of the car themselves, then Hayden started to have some lower back pain, so they decided to ask for a doctor.

"The ambulance came, it took them back to the start and Hayden was airlifted to the hospital in Porto where they are doing a check-up."

Paddon has taken to social media to confirm he's fine but disappointed.

"Looking so promising only for Porta De Lima stage to bite us for a third year in a row," he said.

"To be on the pace and leading the rally twice today was encouraging, driving within ourselves and looking to consolidate on the final stage of the day.

"But unfortunately I made a small mistake to avoid a big rock on the inside of a corner which sent us wide into the ditch and of course there had to be a culvert in the ditch to stop us in our tracks.

"Really sorry for the team and everyone supporting us. Awaiting clearance from the hospital."

WRC driver's championship leader Sebastien Ogier also crashed out this morning.

Hayden Paddon Source: Photosport

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