Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon is in hospital for a precautionary check after crashing on stage seven of Rally Portugal.

Paddon had been leading the rally after winning stage two.

The 31-year-old suffered back pain following an accident on the second run at the Ponte de Lima test and has been taken to hospital in Porto as a precaution.

He and co-driver Seb Marshall managed to get out of the car on their own, but Paddon was airlifted to hospital as a precaution. Marshall was uninjured.


Well what a day, looking so promising only for the Ponte de Lima stage to bite us for a third year in a row. To be on...

Posted by Hayden Paddon on Friday, 18 May 2018

Hyundai team manager Alain Penasse explained the incident, which happened 2.4 kilometres into SS7 – the day's final gravel test.

"In a right corner, Hayden tried to avoid a stone on the inside," Penasse told Autosport.

"He went to the outside of the corner and went to the ditch. The ditch was ending and the car hit the end of the ditch with a strong impact on Hayden's side.

"They both came out of the car themselves, then Hayden started to have some lower back pain, so they decided to ask for a doctor.

"The ambulance came, it took them back to the start and Hayden was airlifted to the hospital in Porto where they are doing a check-up."

Rally Portugal is just Paddon's second event of the year, in his newly abbreviated calendar on the World Rally Championship, and his first in three months.

-More to come