Video: Rally Crash Starts Raging Brush Fire

Rally racing is reserved only for a set of special individuals. Either an obsessive, relentless, bloodthirsty demeanor or an almost-comatose level of serenity is needed, because the risks are so immense. Obviously, one can assume that chucking a car sideways along a dirt ridge is dangerous enough, but factor in unforeseen surface changes, wild animals, boulders and other friendly, natural obstructions and the whole endeavor gets a little hairier.

Perhaps Hayden Paddon felt a little anxious on his charge through this year’s Rally de Portugal, where, after clipping a hillside, spun his Hyundai backwards into a clutch of trees. With that turbocharger burning white-hot, the brakes glowing, and other ancillary components making his car a mobile sauna, that heat sink of a car isn’t best placed in the middle of low-growing shrubs immediately after a hard run. As a result, that thermal energy sets the neighboring brush alight, and starts to clear another path for this stage of the Portuguese rally.

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Tanak anxiously rushes to extinguish his burning Fiesta.

Within a matter of minutes, the car is a charred relic, and another rally machine joins the crowd. This time, it’s Ott Tanak, the same rallyist who went scuba diving in his WRC Fiesta not too long ago. Contributing to the blaze, Tanak’s car is mildly burned but with an improvised pulley and some fire hoses, the Estonian saved his machine. Tanak is helped by spectators and rescue workers who do what they can to keep the whole stage from combusting, but cannot prevent the fire from consuming the hillside. Terrifying, spectacular and thrilling, rally racing is reserved for those who thrive in tense conditions like these.

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A charred chassis was all that was left of Paddon’s Hyundai after the inferno.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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