FIA World Rally Championship racer Hayden Paddon has called for lessons to be learned following the death of a spectator on the opening stage of the Monte Carlo Rally on Thursday night.
A spectator was killed after being struck by Paddon’s car when the New Zealander hit black ice and careered into a roadside bank.
Hyundai driver Paddon was withdrawn from the remainder of the rally out of respect, and has now issued a statement regarding the incident.
Here is the statement in full:
Upon reflection, I wanted to issue a small statement about yesterday’s events.
Firstly, our thoughts are with the family and friends of the spectator involved. No matter the circumstances, this is never something we want to see.
Secondly, John [Kennard, co-driver] and I are humbled by all the messages of support at this time. Obviously, my thoughts are with the family and that is my only concern at the moment. Not being able to return home to New Zealand does make it a little tougher but it is important we stay strong.
I do want to take this chance to ask people not to speculate. Irrespective of how and why the accident happened, finger pointing will not change anything. The most important thing is that we learn from this and I am committed to work with the FIA and rally organizers relentlessly to ensure this does not happen again.
I will take this chance to ask spectators at rallies to please be considerate of where you stand and to respect the instructions of the marshals. We all want to enjoy a good show and go home to the family afterwards.
I also ask each and every rally fan at the events, if you see someone in a dangerous position to request they move for everyone’s best interest. As a community, we can collectively work together to prevent this from happening again.
Lastly, I please ask the respect from the media in these times, especially for the family and friends of the spectator. I will not issue any further statements or conduct interviews at this stage. We made the decision not to continue this weekend out of respect, but will be back in Sweden where we will pay tribute.
Thank you again for everyone’s support and for the support of the team – it really does mean a lot.”
The Monte Carlo Rally finishes on Saturday.