Hayden Paddon will be forced to miss this weekend’s Rally Finland after a pre-event testing crash.
Paddon was set to make his first appearance of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship in a one-off event for M-Sport Ford, but a large roll after hitting a rock has damaged the car beyond repair in time for the Finnish event.
Speaking on Facebook, Paddon said: “Unfortunately our test that started so well today (Monday) didn’t end as well. The Fiesta WRC car was feeling great and pleasantly surprised how quickly we were able to get to grips with it.”
“However a rock in the middle of a 6th gear corner lifted the front of the car off line and the rest is history at that speed on a narrow section of stage. John and I are both ok and thank you for everyone’s messages. Incredibly sorry for the team and everyone back home in NZ who made this event possible. With the damage sustained we will be unable to start the event.”
He added: “Where to next…..who knows. But it’s great to have the support of M-Sport at present. Motorsport can be cruel, but it is these highs and lows that makes us stronger and keeps bringing us back – fans and competitors alike.”
Paddon had been set to line-up alongside Teemu Suninen and Gus Greensmith, who was replacing Elfyn Evans following the Welshman having to sit out the ninth round of the 2019 WRC.