A high speed crash has ruled Hayden Paddon and John Kennard out of this weekend’s World Rally Championship event, Rally Finland.
The pairing were taking part in a pre-event test in their M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC when they hit a rock while taking a blind corner in sixth gear. It is reported that both Paddon and Kennard were uninjured.
“The car needs a jig and we don’t have one and, even if we had a car built and ready to go, it would take three and a half days to get it out there,” M-Sport principal Richard Millner told Autosport.com. “It’s simply not possible.
“Everything was going so well with him, he’s been a pleasure to work with and we were all looking forward to the event.
“When you test on a road like that, these things can happen,” added Millener.
“We saw pretty much the same thing happen with Seb [Ogier] in his Finland test last year.
“The difference in that test was that Seb was in the test car rather than his entry car.
“There’s always a risk involved with testing in the car you’ll be running on the event and this time it’s come back and bitten us.
“You can’t help but feel really sorry for Hayden. We don’t blame him for this.
“A rock’s been pulled out and he’s then discovered it sitting in the middle of the road in a blind, sixth-gear right-hander.
“There was nothing he could do to avoid it.
“It’s hit the bottom of the car and sent them into the air and off the road. They were passengers.”
Paddon was making his return to the WRC after being dropped by Hyundai Motorsport at the end of 2018. Rally Finland was seen as a pivotal event.
“When it’s a one-off rally like this the only target is to push 100 per cent,” says Paddon prior to a one-day test with the team in Finland. “We need to try and make an impression to help any discussions to get back into the WRC. What that looks like results-wise depends on many variables but all I can say is that we will be giving this rally everything.”