The World Rally Championship’s new era got off to a tough start, with the opening stage of the Rallye Monte Carlo being cancelled after an incident.
A crash for Haydon Paddon on an icy left-hand corner also involved a spectator, who sadly died after the incident.
Paddon’s Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC slid off the icy road, with the car crashing into a bank and rolling onto its side. There is footage of the incident but we have chosen not to include it in this article.
It was reported a spectator was involved, had been injured and passed out, with medical crews quickly on the scene. But the WRC later announced the spectator had sadly passed away, issuing the following statement:
“The Automobile Club de Monaco regrets to advise further details following incident of the car #4 in SS1. The spectator was transported by helicopter from the stage to hospital in Nice. Despite the best efforts of the medical staff, the spectator has sadly died.
“An investigation has commenced into the incident and all involved parties will provide assistance to the authorities. Everyone associated with the event extends their deepest sympathies and condolences to the families, friends and individuals affected.”
Hyundai released its own statement after the incident:
Paddon shared a series of tweets, sending his condolences to the family and friends of the spectator:
Hyundai decided to withdraw the No.4 car from the rally as a mark of respect for the spectator.
The crash cancelled the first stage, with the second stage going ahead as planned. Thierry Neuville leads the way after Thursday’s action, with an 8.5 second gap to Sebastien Ogier.