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Paddon claims Argentine rally win

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 24/04/2016

Kiwi Hayden Paddon survived final-day mechanical problems and then produced a stunning drive to secure his first World Rally Championship victory in Argentina.

Gear-change problems threatened to spoil Paddon's joy, but he held on to win Rally Argentina by 14.3 seconds in a Hyundai i20 from championship leader Sebastien Ogier.

He started the final day with a 29.8sec advantage but that was reduced to just 2.6sec before the 29-year-old responded to claim the first victory for a New Zealand driver in the 43-year history of the world championship.

"I can't believe it, I really didn't think I stood a chance before the last stage after losing time to Ogier this morning," said Paddon.

"I gave that last stage everything I had. Tight and twisty roads like El Condor aren't my strength but I drove the stage of my life."

Ogier extended his championship lead in a Volkswagen Polo R, the Frenchman finishing the tough four-day gravel rally near Villa Carlos Paz 50.9sec ahead of teammate Andreas Mikkelsen.

Paddon also won the final live TV Power Stage to claim three bonus points.

He now sits second overall in the drivers' standings - 39 points behind Ogier.

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