Hayden Paddon has become the first New Zealander to win a WRC round in history after dominating Rally Argentina in a Hyundai i20 WRC. This was also his first WRC win and more so coming from one of the most difficult rounds of the year. Defending champion Sebastien Ogier claimed second place leading his teammate Andreas Mikkelsen to give VW a double podium victory in Argentina.
Rally leader Jari-Matti Latvala crashed out of the lead yesterday when his Volkswagen Polo R WRC broke the front suspension causing them to roll. Paddon managed to take advantage of the ill-fated Polo R by claiming the lead. Ogier on the other hand suffered his fair share of troubles by having to open the road in his Polo R, he fell back gradually allowing Latvala to cash in on his disadvantage.
Mikkelsen played it safe throughout the rally, a strategy that paid off as the Norwegian finished third overall. Fourth place went to another Hyundai driver, Dani Sordo who finished second in the final live TV Power Stage behind his teammate Paddon. Ford driver Mads Ostberg rounded off the top five after a tough chase through the stages with Henning Solberg, Eric Camilli and local hero Marcos Ligato.
Latvala led a perfect fight after the first day, his frustration was clear after crashing on the following day. He won the last round in Mexico and was eyeing for a back-to-back win in Argentina.
Speaking about his crash, Latvala said, “I’m really disappointed but I don’t know what else I could have done. I had a good lead, it had been a controlled drive and I was in control on the stage. If I have to avoid every stone then we can go home – there is no point to come to the rally!
“You can’t avoid every rock if you try to win. And this wasn’t a loose rock, it was part of the road. I can’t understand how it breaks. But that’s how it is – very unlucky.”
Rally Portugal is the next round on the 2016 WRC calendar scheduled to take place on 19 May.