Sébastien Ogier of France congratulated Hayden Paddon of New Zealand for a “fantastic” power stage drive that sealed his rival’s victory at YPF Rally Argentina, adding he has no regrets about his own performance.
Paddon had lost all but 2.6 seconds of his overnight 29.8-second lead to Ogier by Monday’s final 16-kilometer, and the Frenchman looked more than capable of overtaking that slim advantage to snatch the win.
Instead, Paddon blitzed the competition in his Hyundai i20, stopping the clock 11.6 secinds quicker than Ogier in a Volkwagen Golf to take his first win at World Rally Championship level.
After the finish podium ceremony, Ogier explained that despite missing out on victory he remained happy with his drive.
“If you look at the global picture of the weekend it is a great achievement for us to be on the podium with 19 points for the Championship and I improved the gap compared to second,” he said. “Considering the conditions we had to face throughout the weekend, we came close to pulling off a major feat in getting so near to the leader.”
“We have no regrets. Whatever happened, the objective of the final day wasn’t to go all out for victory, but to keep up a good pace without taking any excessive risks. If I had to do it again, I would approach this rally in exactly the same way,” he added.
Ogier praised Paddon’s speed thought the repeated El Condor, which he described as “the roughest stage I have ever driven.”
“In the last one Hayden did an amazing time. He definitely went for it and I didn’t do enough. I had the feeling that my driving was clean but I was not pushing too hard because I was scared to take zero points,” he said.