A spectator has died at Rallye Monte Carlo after an incident involving Hayden Paddon’s Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC on the opening stage of the rally.

Just before the start of Rallye Monte Carlo
Just before the start of Rallye Monte Carlo

The new era of the World Rally Championship has got off to a difficult start after a disrupted Thursday at Rallye Monte Carlo.

Paddon crashed at an icy left-hand corner during the first stage on Thursday night, with his Hyundai going rear-first into a bank. The stage was cancelled after the crash.

It has been reported the spectator involved was standing at the bottom of the bank and was hit by Paddon’s car as it slid off the road.

Paddon driving his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Paddon driving his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Initially it was reported the spectator had been injured and passed out, with emergency crews attending the scene.

A statement from the WRC was then released announcing he had sadly died:

“The Automobile Club de Monaco regrets to advise further details following incident of the car #4 in SS1. The spectator was transported by helicopter from the stage to hospital in Nice. Despite the best efforts of the medical staff, the spectator has sadly died.

“An investigation has commenced into the incident and all involved parties will provide assistance to the authorities. Everyone associated with the event extends their deepest sympathies and condolences to the families, friends and individuals affected.”

Hyundai also released a statement on the incident:

Paddon shared a series of tweets after the news was announced, sending his condolences to the family and friends of the spectator.

Hyundai decided to withdraw the No.4 Hyundai from the Rallye Monte Carlo as a mark of respect.