A spectator has died following an incident involving Hayden Paddon on the opening stage of the 2017 Monte Carlo Rally.
The Kiwi driver slid on ice and struck a bank on SS1, causing his Hyundai i20 Coupe to roll over and forcing the stage to be stopped.
Though Paddon and co-driver Jonathan Kennard were unhurt, it became apparent a spectator had also been involved, with a later communication from organisers saying he had 'passed out'.
However, despite being tended to by emergency crews shortly after the incident, he has sadly passed away.
Official statement from the Automobile Club de Monaco
“The Automobile Club de Monaco regrets to advise further details following incident of the car #4 (Paddon/Kennard) in SS 1,” read the official statement from the organisers.
“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.”
It remains unclear of the exact circumstances which led to his death but Hyundai has retired the #4 car of Paddon as a mark of respect.
“Hyundai Motorsport is deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of a spectator during the opening stage of Rallye Monte-Carlo on Thursday evening.
“The incident occurred at the same time as the #4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC of Hayden Paddon and John Kennard crashed into the mountainside, after the car hit a patch of black ice at the entry to a left-hand turn.
“The team and crew have pledged their full support to the event organisers and authorities to understand the full details.
“Hyundai Motorsport extends its condolences to the family, friends and individuals affected."