MOTORSPORT: The first stage of the World Rally Championship season-opening Monte Carlo Rally was cancelled after an incident involving New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon caused the death of a spectator.
Neither Paddon or Hyundai co-driver John Kennard were hurt after their vehicle hit a patch of black ice but a spectator was sent tumbling down the rocky bank after the impact.
The spectator, who sources said was a Spaniard aged 50, was airlifted to hospital in nearby Nice after suffering a suspected heart attack before passing away.
Paddon reacted to the terrible news on his Facebook page.
"I am incredibly saddened by today's accident and my thoughts are with the family and friends of the person involved. It's difficult to say much more at the moment, as we are in shock with what has happened. I'm sorry for the family, the fans and our sport!” he wrote.
Paddon's car has now been withdrawn from the rally as a mark of respect.
Hyundai Motorsport issued a statement, saying it was deeply saddened.
"The team and crew have pledged their full support to the event organisers and authorities to understand the full details,” it said.
WRC said an
investigation had been launched and all parties involved would provide assistance to the authorities.
"Everyone associated with the event extends their deepest sympathies and condolences to the families, friends and individuals affected, The WRC said in a statment.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.