14 Jun 2015

Paddon slips to 2nd on Rally Italy

8:39 am on 14 June 2015

The New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon has relinquished his lead following a tough third day of the World Rally Championship's Rally Italy and now sits in second place with one day of racing remaining.

Hayden Paddon in action in Sardinia

Hayden Paddon in action in Sardinia Photo: Photosport

Paddon and co-driver John Kennard continued to lead WRC Rally Italy Sardinia for the first six stages of the third day's itinerary - the longest leg of competitive stages in this year's WRC - with more second and third quickest stage times.

However a spin in stage 17 meant Paddon decided to ease his pace to protect the car on the ultra-rough and rocky Sardinian roads, and he dropped to second place with Frenchman Sebastian Ogier taking the lead.

Hitting a rock in the following stage damaged Paddon's Hyundai car's drivetrain and they repaired it as best they could to complete the day's final 42.22 km stage with the 11th quickest time and still hold second place overall.

Paddon is now 2 minutes 13.6 seconds behind leader Ogier and has a margin of 1 minute 12 seconds to Mads Ostberg in third place.

Yesterday Paddon became the first New Zealander to lead a World Rally Championship event outside his home country.

The Geraldine Hyundai driver led by 8.8 seconds from French Volkswagen star Sebastien Ogier, with another Volkswagen driver, Finnland's Jari-Matti Latvala, in third, almost 26 seconds behind.

Paddon won three of the first four stages, but his advantage was whittled down by Ogier and Latvala, who dominated the latter part of the day, winning five of the last six stages between them.

28-year-old Paddon's 10th overall on the WRC standings.

There are four stages on day four to complete the Rally Italy.