Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard have made a lucky escape at the World Rally Championships in Portugal.

The pair crashed heavily on stage five with pictures from the scene detailing how Paddon's Hyundai i20 was completely gutted by fire.

Both drivers walked away uninjured following the crash.

The Kiwi's car caught fire after he crashed heavily 11.90km into the second pass of Ponte de Lima. It burned out within five minutes and while Paddon and Kennard were unhurt, they were only able to save their crash helmets from the burning wreckage.


Hayden and John were holding 6th position at the start of stage 5.

Fellow driver Ott Tanak crashed just minutes after Paddon in the exact same location, with his vehicle also catching fire.

On Facebook Paddon wrote:

Not the afternoon we had planned - despite the car feeling better. Unfortunately we were caught out by a big hole on the inside of a fast left hand corner that developed between the first and second pass. This kicked the car into the bank on the opposite side of the road, then bouncing the car down the back. Once come to a rest, the hot exhaust caught the bushes on fire and the rear of the car was almost immediately engulfed in flames. The consequences from this small accident are very harsh and I'm very sorry for the whole team who now have a huge task ahead. But we will come back stronger! Sorry everyone and thanks for the continued support.