A driver on the Targa NZ tarmac motor rally was airlifted to Hawke's Bay Hospital today by the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter, the first of two crashes on the Crownthorpe leg of the race.

Police say the male driver was in a serious condition from the Crownthorpe Settlement Rd crash, that occurred just before 9:30am.

Police, St John Ambulance and Hastings fire service also attended.

Hastings fire service senior station officer Glenn Drew said the race was halted after the crash, when a Mazda failed to take a corner and "travelled a fair way off the road".

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"He shot across a paddock and through a ditch," he said.

On arrival he said the vehicle was upright and the co-driver on his feet.

"We set up our gear to extricate [the driver] but we didn't have to use the gear, with assistance he was able to get out of the vehicle and onto a stretcher."

Organisers say the co-driver was taken to hospital by a St John ambulance.

A second unrelated crash happened at the same time and there was no injury.