EYE-OPENER FOR WRC SPECTATORS
You will have heard the news of the tragic death of a spectator at the Monte Carlo Rally, involving New Zealand driver, Hayden Paddon.
We’d like to offer our condolences to the friends and family of the unnamed 50-year-old man, and to Hayden himself, during this stressful time.
The incident occurred after Paddon’s car failed to take a left-hand corner and rolled onto its side after rebounding off the bank. Eyewitnesses at the scene said the man, who was believed to have been taking photos from a high point on the bank, was in an area prohibited from the public.
Video from the incident reveals that the spectator tumbled down the bank after the impact caused a small landside, and it appears that the vehicle did not make contact with him — although details are scarce, the cause of death is suspected to be from a heart attack.
In a personal statement released on Paddon’s Facebook page, he said, “Firstly our thoughts are with the family and friends of the spectator involved ... I am committed to work with the FIA and rally organizers relentlessly to ensure this does not happen again.” He later continued, “I will take this chance to ask spectators at rallies to please be considerate of where you stand and to respect the instructions of the marshals. We all want to enjoy a good show and go home to the family afterwards. I also ask each and every rally fan at the events, if you see someone in a dangerous position, to request they move for everyone’s best interest. As a community, we can collectively work together to prevent this from happening again.”
The WRC stage was cancelled by organizers following the crash, and Paddon is unable to return home to New Zealand while an investigation is underway.