The New Zealander started Sunday’s final quartet of stages with a lead of more than six minutes 35 seconds in the PWRC over Benito Guerra. However, with 10 kilometres of the 15th stage remaining, Paddon’s car suffered a broken rear suspension arm.
“I can smile about it because luckily we’ve got service now, although it keeps it interesting,” said Paddon. “We didn’t hit anything at all, we’re just cruising. It was boring but this keeps it interesting.”
Fortunately for Paddon, second-placed Benito Guerra also hit trouble when his Mitsubishi Lancer suffered a broken turbo at the stage start and he dropped more than four minutes. As a result Jukka Ketomaki moves into second place with championship leader Martin Semerad up to third.
Out front, Sebastien Ogier continues to lead Citroen team-mate Sebastien Loeb with Jari-Matti Latvala third. Mikko Hirvonen had moved ahead into fourth ahead of Matthew Wilson by going faster than his fellow Ford Fiesta driver on stage 14. However, a rear driveshaft failure on the next test cost the Finn valuable time and dropped him back behind Wilson.
Crews are now heading back to the service halt at Faro’s Estadio Algarve. Two stages of the event now remain, including the 31.04-kilometre Power Stage, which gets underway at 13:28hrs local time and will be shown live on television around the world.