Hayden Paddon's historic victory at Rally Argentina
Hayden Paddon writes history today at Rally Argentina. He scored his first ever WRC victory and became the first New Zealander to win in the top class of world rallying. Hyundai’s driver won in an exciting battle against the three-time world champion Sebastien Ogier. After 364 kilometers and 18 special stages, the New Zealander has won with 14.3sec advantage over Ogier’s Volkswagen Polo R WRC. Paddon also won the Power Stage, adding three additional points to his account.
Paddon started the final day with 29.8sec advantage over Ogier, but gearchange problems on his Hyundai i20 WRC during two Sunday’s stages cost him lots of time, so advantage was cut to just 2.6sec before the Power Stage.
Another Volkswagen – Hyundai rivals fought for third podium place. Andreas Mikkelsen had 17.7ec advantage over Dani Sordo on Sunday morning and the gap was slightly decreased to 15.1sec before final stage. At the end Mikkelsen took the podium, 11.9sec ahead of Sordo.
Ford’s Mads Ostberg finished fifth, far behind the leaders. Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville reached the sixth place, ahead of the Argentine driver Marcos Ligato with Citroen DS3 WRC. Two more Ford Fiestas finished in the points, M-Sport’s car driven by Eric Camilli and the private car of Henning Solberg.
Except the victory, the main story of the 2016 Rally Argentina was the spectacular crash of Jari-Matti Latvala at SS14 on Saturday afternoon, while he was leading. He crashed, according to him, because of suspension failure. That crash ruined all good stage results he made before. He won five stages and he was in the lead from Stage 4.
The mechanics repaired the car over the nigth and Latvala restarted on Sunday morning. He reached 10th place and was hoping to take at least one point for the drivers’ standings, but also points for the manufacturers’ standings, but another drama followed at Power Stage. He damaged the car a had to retire.