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Monte Carlo first stage cancelled after Paddon rolls

(Reuters) - The first stage of the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally was cancelled on Thursday after New Zealander Hayden Paddon rolled his Hyundai, with the car left on its side and blocking the icy road.

Neither Paddon or co-driver John Kennard were hurt but video images appeared to show a spectator tumbling down the rocky bank after the impact. Organisers said the emergency services were tending to him.

Paddon was almost at the end of the 21.25km Entrevaux-Ubraye stage when he lost control as he entered a left-hand corner and hit the bank rear first.

The rally started in Monaco's Casino Square on Thursday before the field left for the opening night stages north to the town of Gap.

Friday is the longest day, with more stages on Saturday before Sunday's final leg that includes the renowned Col de Turini, where ice and snow can cause problems.

France's four times world champion Sebastien Ogier, now driving an M-Sport Ford, has won the rally for the past three years for Volkswagen.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by John O'Brien)

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