Paddon blows Rally France lead
Mon, 08 Oct 2012 8:32a.m.
New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon's hopes of victory in the Super 2000 class at Rally France ended in a ditch that also cost him any chance of securing the championship title.
Paddon had a lead of almost two minutes after three stages on the final day, but on the next stage he slipped off the road in a muddy section.
He and co-driver John Kennard were unable to get the car out of a grass-filled ditch and were out of the event and their championship hopes at an end.
"It was the smallest of mistakes, running slightly wide on a muddy, tight right hand corner - a first gear corner - and the rear wheel slightly touched the grass. This then sucked the car into the grass-filled ditch where we were stuck," Paddon said.
The pair could only watch on helplessly as Ireland's Craig Breen took victory.
"It's been an up and down rally and we're extremely lucky with what happened to Hayden," said Breen. "He was so unlucky because it was so easy to go off where he did."
The championship will be decided at the final rally of the season next month in Spain with Breen, Sweden's Per-Gunnar Andersson and Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi in a three-way battle for the title.
France's Sebastien Loeb landed his ninth world rally championship title after winning his home rally.
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