Paddon crushed after "amateur mistake" in Rally Italy
Hayden Paddon has admitted he was "devastated" by his "amateur mistake" that saw him retire from the lead of Rally Italy.
Having led the Sardinia event throughout Friday and Saturday morning, Hyundai driver Paddon looked set to recover from a low-key start to his 2017 campaign.
However, he suffered a broken rear wheel on his i20 Coupe WRC after hitting a bank in SS13, the first Saturday afternoon stage.
He completed the stage with a loss of a minute, but couldn't continue and was forced to retire.
"I am devastated," Paddon said after the incident. "It was such a schoolboy error, which caused us to break the rear wheel. I turned in too early and clipped a bank. That was that.
"There is no one to blame but myself, and I am hugely sorry for the team and all of our supporters. It’s important that I learn from this and do all I can to put things right at the next event.
"Things were going so well and we were maintaining our lead, which makes it even more frustrating."
Paddon's muted campaign started with withdrawing from Rally Monte Carlo after hitting a spectator on the opening stage of the season.
Mechanical issues forced him to settle for seventh and fifth in Sweden and Mexico respectively, before finishing sixth in both France and Argentina despite rolling in the latter event.
Paddon said he was at a career "low" after Argentina, and things did not get better in the subsequent Portugal round either, where he dropped down from third with another car problem.
The New Zealander sits eighth in the WRC standings after six events, 73 and 33 points behind his two Hyundai teammates Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo.
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