Drivers / co-drivers: Hayden Paddon and John Kennard (Hyundai Motorsport), Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Motorsport) and Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jaeger (Volkswagen Motorsport).

Team principal: Michel Nandan (Hyundai Motorsport)

Press conference

Q:
Hayden, congratulations! What an event it has been for you! You have taken your first WRC win; how does that feel?

Hayden Paddon:
It's an amazing feeling. I was on the edge of my seat before the last stage too! To be honest I was not confident with the two seconds before El Condor but I drove the best I could and apart from one mistake, I couldn't do any more. To win a rally like this when you are pushing to the limit against the best driver in the world is an incredible feeling.

Q:
You also had a couple of problems in SS16. The car stalled a couple of times. How worrying was it?

Hayden Paddon:
It wasn't worrying. The conditions were all the same for everyone and when you reached the top of the hill it was terrible to drive in such fog. We could not see the front of the car.

Q:
You lost most of the time in Mina Clavero. You sounded really concerned at the end of the stage. How were you feeling? Did you think that it was all over?

Hayden Paddon:
Yes, we had a clean stage but it was very rough and I was trying to look after the car. But we lost 20 seconds and of course confidence was not so high. So I forgot about the result and tried to enjoy the driving, but anyway I was pushing myself more than I would normally do.

Q:
At any point was it win it or bin it?

Hayden Paddon:
I didn't want to come second but I was in the number 20 car and didn't have to get points for the main team, I wanted to win. I went over the rocks but fortunately the car is strong and we got to the end.

Q:
What was the first indication you had that you had won?

Hayden Paddon:
I had no idea! Initially I thought that it was not enough. We got to the end and we saw the time on the screen. But Seb's time was covered and I could not see it, and I looked at the media in front of the car and nobody was giving me any indication, I said "what's going on here?"

Q:
A special feeling, is this something you'll never forget: your first win?

Hayden Paddon:
I will never forget this. Today is probably a step in my career. I hope there are many more in the future. But today is definitely the one to remember.

Q:
How proud do you think you will feel of what you have done when you go home?

Hayden Paddon:
I have to thank all the people in New Zeeland for their support. I know that they are watching the stages with a big time difference. That is amazing. We know we have a country behind us and I know they are watching the live stages.

Q:
Now you are in second position in the Championship, it really has been a great weekend.

Hayden Paddon:
It is not a position we expected to be in. It will be nice to be at the front in Portugal; it's a rally I enjoy. I have to be realistic though; there is lots of room to improve myself and also to develop some small things in the car. We will just keep doing things in the right way and step by step.

Q:
How does this top podium position make you feel in Argentina John?

John Kennard:
It's fantastic!

Q:
It has been an incredible weekend with that battle going into the final stage. Was it tense or calm inside the car?

John Kennard:
It was quite calm all the way through. After the first stage we had a few problems and we left the stage thinking well, we still have something in the bag, and then we got to the long stage and at the end we thought we have to be calm and we said all we can do is try. And we did and the outcome was unbelievable.

Q:
Where there any nerves at the start, knowing that you needed your notes absolutely perfect for the stage?

John Kennard:
A little bit more than usual, but not so much. I have been doing it for 35 years!

Q:
Second position, great points for the Championship and you extend your lead Seb. Are you happy with the result at the end of the day?

Sebastien Ogier:
For sure I'm happy with the weekend. 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 the second. I'm looking forward to the fight in the next rally. It was a long weekend with the two first days which you already know from me. But today it has been exciting. I didn't change anything to my approach, as I said it will never be all or nothing. The stages today were very different, so rough and definitely not my favourite conditions. You always think about saving the car. The first two stages were very good this morning and we even had the chance to fight for victory, it was possible. But in the last one Hayden did an amazing time. He definitely went for it and I didn't do enough. It was the roughest stage I have ever driven. It was quite bad. I had the feeling that my driving was clean but I was not pushing too hard because I was scared to take zero points. Well done to them. They have done a great time in the last stage. I have to say that I am a competitor and I don't like to be second, but today it is much easier to accept to be beaten this way. The difference happened behind the steering wheel. They have done it, well done! They deserve it!

Q:
You mentioned how rough El Condor was. How far were you into the stage when you thought maybe I'm not going to give it the absolute flat out here?

Sebastien Ogier:
Honestly I think everyone believed that I was not serious when I said that I would not really go for it and that was the truth. I did not want to change my approach. This morning I started quite carefully. The conditions were extreme. Visibility was really bad and so many big rocks on the road... it would have been suicide to push in those conditions. So, we didn't start so well. We didn't get much time to Hayden in the first stage and the second was much better and at that moment 2.6 seconds was looking possible. In the last stage I did not have the feeling that I was slow, but I knew I didn't take the whole risk. But I was still surprised that I lost 11 seconds. It means that we know the one who really went for it. If I have to do it again I will do the same because I am still happy with the points for the Championship.

Q:
Julien, what are your feelings after Argentina?

Julien Ingrassia:
It has been a great event so tonight I'll have in mind to travel twice next year; once in Argentina here as a tourist because we have seen so many beautiful landscapes in the stages from yesterday. It was really cool to drive there, and also another trip to New Zealand because I don't understand what these guys are saying so I need to practice!

Q:
What is it like in the co-driver's seat on this rally?

Julien Ingrassia:
I would say it's quite rough, I already said it in the recce, so as a co-driver I tried to do some little soft spots before the rally so it was good help because last year I had some pain in my back for the first time in my career. In this way, physically, it's quite rough.

Q:
This is your first time on the podium here in Argentina Andreas. You had a strategy before the event and it worked really well. Are you happy?

Andreas Mikkelsen:
Yes, it definitely worked out. Coming from Mexico with zero points, we knew that we had to step up in this event to get back in the Championship with some more points. We took a safely approach coming into the event. When you look back on the results on this rally before, a lot of things have happened. We managed to get to third place at the end. It is a good result for us. We had some pressure from Dani all the way through really. We were trading times all weekend. We felt that today it was time to control him as good as we could and we managed that quite well, without taking any risks. Third place is a good result and it feels good not to do the SupeRally on this rally.

Q:
Was there a little bit of caution in your head?

Andreas Mikkelsen:
Yes of course. This morning they were really tricky conditions. The fog was really bad. We also did a mistake. We were stopped for eight or nine seconds and I thought Dani would come closer. We pushed a lot in the fog and we managed to catch back the time but Condor was so rough today. I have never seen that stage like this before. I knew that Dani would also try to push on the last stage so we tried to keep an okay pace without losing too much time.

Q:
Are we going to see a push in Portugal to win? Because you said this was the strategy here.

Andreas Mikkelsen:
We had a great rally at Portugal last year. I'm sure we can get the same feeling again this year. As far as I have looked at the stages they are quite similar. The experience should count. I'm really looking forward to that event.

Q:
How was your Argentinean experience? Enjoyable?

Anders Jaeger:
Yes for sure. It was rough as expected. We really enjoyed the weekend. We weren't right up there in the fight but that was also the plan. As Andreas said, after Mexico we needed to get on the right track again and I think we did a good job as we planned. In the end everything turned up to be good.

Q:
We have seen you competing previously on the WRC 3, how do you feel you're adapting stepping up to the WRC?

Anders Jaeger:
I feel comfortable, it's getting better and better with Andreas. After Monte Carlo Rally we felt this was going really good. It is only getting better and better.

Q:
Michel, many congratulations! What are your thoughts on Rally Argentina?

Michel Nandan:
Of course it is a special weekend for us. We have been working on the car in between Mexico and here in Argentina. We knew we had improved a bit so we were really hoping for podium, and then of course winning is even better. I have to say Hayden has really done a fantastic job and the car I think has improved which is good for us because at least it has shown we can be closer to the fight. I think it can be good for the rest of the championship.

Q:
How were you feeling after knowing Hayden was starting to lose time? Was it tense?

Michel Nandan:
When somebody is losing like 19 seconds in one stage, you think that maybe he has a problem and then we knew there was no problem on Hayden's car. I think I was still convinced he could do it and when we see what he has done on the last stage, it has been fantastic.

Q:
What are your thoughts on the organisation of the event this year?

Michel Nandan:
I think I have to congratulate the organisers. This year they have done a really good job. The stages have been really safe, which is a very good thing. At least it shows that it is possible to do it. I think the job from last year to this one is incredible. It is the most important thing in our business for all stages to be safe because it's good for the sport.

Sebastien Ogier:
Sorry to interrupt but I want to congratulate the FIA and Mich?le Mouton too, because they have done a good job. They have put in a lot of effort and there is a huge difference from last year as regards safety and people. Well done!

Questions from the floor

Q: Carlos Rodriguez (Radio Co Medios y de Radio Pueblo)
For Hayden Paddon, has the pressure been taken off now you have won your first WRC event? Are you going to go for the Championship?

Hayden Paddon:
We are very happy with the weekend. For me, winning the championship is not a priority this year. We need to do things step by step and be realistic. We just have to concentrate on rally results. I think it takes the pressure off, maybe not as many nerves for the future. Sardinia last year also helped to get prepared for today.

Q:
Sebastien, how was the race today taking into account you were 30 seconds behind, and before the last stage you were just two seconds, but you couldn't make it?

Sebastien Ogier:
I feel this is a great result for me. When I came within two seconds of the lead before the last stage, we were hoping for more. The victory was there and possible to get but on the last stage Hayden did a better job than me and he won the rally. And like I said, I have no regrets, I'm pleased with those 19 points for my championship. I will come back to Argentina to win it.

 

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