New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon surprised even himself by winning the production class at Rally Argentina today.
The 24-year-old finished ninth overall after a top drive in the three-day event, the latest round of the world championship series.
His time of four hours 20 minutes 40.7 seconds left him almost 8min ahead of his nearest production class rival, Sweden's Patrik Flodin.
"I didn't come here to win and to come away with maximum points is great for the championship," said Paddon, from Geraldine in South Canterbury.
"Performance-wise it hasn't been completely satisfying, but a great result for the team. There's still a long way to go and we need to take it one round at a time, but it's absolutely fantastic," he said after promoting himself atop the production championship standings
Paddon and co-driver John Kennard's dominant performance in the third round of the championship saw them displace Czech driver Martin Semerad at the top of the series standings.
In his first outing in Argentina, Paddon drove cautiously on the first day and despite electrical problems with his Subaru he continued to post strong times to keep himself on the pace of the frontrunners.
He hit the lead late on the first day and stayed there for the duration.
Paddon, who also won the class in the first round in Portugal, nabbed a top 10 result in the world rally championship by finishing ninth overall, close to 26min behind the winner, Sebastien Loeb, of France.