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This Tight, Windy Mountaintop Power Stage Gave Paddon His First WRC Win

Hayden Paddon got his first ever World Rally Championship win last weekend at Rally Argentina after Jari-Matti Latvala rolled out of the lead. The final epic power stage that sealed his win is a mesmerizing downhill descent on rough roads with no shortage of fans lining the surreal, rocky landscape.

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Welcome to Onboard of the Week, a feature where we spend that pesky time between races looking at awesome footage from inside the car.

El Condor’s mix of extremely tight hairpins and fast straights make it no joke, especially considering the occasional exposures—sections of road with no guardrail—where you could tumble down the mountain if you get it wrong. Get it wrong somewhere else and you’re likely to punch a huge boulder.

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This is one of the most legendary stages in rally for a reason, and the view from onboard the car makes it even better. It looks like Paddon and co-driver John Kennard were certainly happy with their result at the end as well.

Prior to Paddon’s win, the only person to have beaten unstoppable force Sébastien Ogier on pace in the last four seasons was equally unstoppable Sébastien Loeb.

Ogier was catching Paddon in the last bit of Rally Argentina. On the previous two stages, he’d whittled Paddon’s lead down to less than three seconds. Ogier was so good at power stages, it almost looked like the result was already in the bag for him. At the very end of Rally Argentina, though, Ogier was right behind Paddon by just 14.3 seconds.


Have an awesome onboard video to share? Drop me a line at stef.schrader@jalopnik.com or post it in the comments below.

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Moderator, OppositeLock. Former Staff Writer, Jalopnik. 1984 "Porschelump" 944 race car, 1971 Volkswagen 411 race car, 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS.

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DISCUSSION

dustyventures
Dusty Ventures

Watching this live (and as a Paddon fan) was such a massive moment. Ogier had taken 20 seconds out of Hayden on the last stage alone, and it seemed like a sure thing that he’d get the remaining three seconds he needed to take the win. It seemed like a done deal, even to Hayden himself and the commentators. Then Hayden’s time at the halfway split came in showing Hayden eight seconds faster at half way and everything just exploded. The commentators went nuts, I went nuts, even the other drivers waiting at the finish went nuts. For the rest of the run I kept yelling at the screen going “Faster! Careful! Push! Don’t stuff it!” And those final couple miles in the fast stuff, damn, it looked like his car was floating over the ground like Luke’s landspeeder. Probably the most exciting rally moment I've ever seen.