Hayden Paddon’s podium hopes at WRC Rally Australia have been deflated by a puncture in the second of the Sunday morning stages.
Paddon said he ran wide, touched a bank and knocked the left rear tyre off his Hyundai i20 in early section of the 31.9km Bucca stage just north of Coffs Harbour.
The time loss of about 54secs as Paddon drove through the stage on the alloy rim has dropped him from third position and he now runs behind Hyundai team-mates Thierry Neuville (Belgium) and Dani Sordo (Spain) into fifth place.
Paddon wasn’t the only driver with second stage dramas. Sebastien Ogier’s bid to overhaul rally leader Andreas Mikkelsen was interrupted when the world champion had a time-consuming spin near the finish of the stage.
With Mikkelsen taking the stage win the rally lead of 2.0secs he took into the final day has stretched to a comfortable 22.6secs with only three stages and 18km of competitive driving still to go today.
Third placed Neuville trails Ogier by 51.2secs with Sordo 14.0secs back and Paddon only 0.6secs behind his team-mate with a gap of 6.7secs over Norway’s Mads Ostberg (Ford).