NO STOPPING: Hyundai's Hayden Paddon gave VW's Sebastien Ogier a run for his money when he won the Rally of Argentina. Image: AFP / Diego Lima
Villa Carlos Paz, Argentina - Hayden Paddon kept world champion Sebastien Ogier at bay to win the Rally of Argentina on Sunday for his first world rally championship success.
The Hyundai driver, tipped as a future world champion, inherited a handsome lead after Jari-Matti Latvala crashed out in his VW Polo on Saturday.
And he held his nerve over the three closing stages although he had a scare on the fourth day's opener when he lost time to Ogier after a gearbox change.
'I didn't think we could do it'
He took fourth in that stage 16 and then third in the next special won by Ogier who had started the day half a minute behind but was now bang in the hunt only 2.6sec shy of the New Zealander.
The 29-year-old Paddon kept his cool to clock the quickest time in the concluding power stage in El Condor to win his first WRC rally by 14sec, and the first by a New Zealander in WRC's 43-year history.
On being told he'd won he celebrated by jumping onto the roof of his car and saying: "I don't believe it, I didn't think we could do it."
Ogier, who was left looking for his first victory in Argentina, leads the drivers' standings by 96 points with Paddon moving up to 57 and Norway's Mads Ostberg on 52.