Hayden Paddon became the first New Zealand driver to win a round of the World Rally Championship today when he finished 14.3 seconds clear of reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier in Argentina.

Paddon and co-driver John Kennard also won the rally's power stage, earning three bonus points.

Here are 10 things you didn't know about the Kiwi duo.

1) Paddon's goal has always been clear. Back in 2010, when he was still trying to enter the WRC, he told the Herald his aim was to be the world champion. "I know it sounds far-fetched and is a long, long way from where I am and it may never happen. But I believe you have to have your goals and your dreams. Possum Bourne had just entered a team in the P-WRC when he died [in 2003] so he was never able to complete that and who knows what that would have led to ... if we can run a team in the world championship it would be a first for New Zealand."


2) At 57, Blenheim's John Kennard is the oldest co-driver to win a WRC round, eclipsing Arne Hertz (Sweden) who was 52 when he helped Armin Schwarz win the Spain rally in 1991.

3) Paddon, from the town of Geraldine 140km south of Christchurch, thought his career might be over when the car his father bought for him rolled and "burned to the ground" during the 2005 Canterbury rally. It left little Team Paddon penniless but was a turning point as the local community and car club people from around the country gave him money to start again. Paddon said it was "a moving experience" He added: "The motorsport community is like that - it's very small and we are all friends".

4) Paddon's father Chris who owned a farm machinery business took up rallying in his early 20s and won the 1999 Mainland Series. He built Hayden's first go-kart using a chainsaw engine. Hayden's parents split when he was young and he spent his weekends with Chris, which meant "weekends racing". Chris now lives in Wanaka and one of Hayden's favourite hobbies is mountainbiking in central Otago.


Paddon got his first car aged 13, a Mini. He stripped it out himself and first competed in a time trial on a grass airfield run in an event run by the Ashburton Car Club.

6) Kennard has a background in architecture and runs a wine business. He started as a rally driver in 1979, winning his class in a Finland Rally, then swapped to co-driving in 1985 with Brent Rawstron of Christchurch. Kennard and Rawstron are vineyard business partners.

7) Paddon is based in Germany with his longtime girlfriend Katie Lane, a marketing manager who hails from Napier. Lane has a huge role organising and promoting Paddon's career. Hyundai re-entered the WRC in 2014 and set up a base at at Alzenau near Frankfurt

8) When his dad asked a young Hayden how he would fund his rallying, the 12-year-old went out and got three jobs - a paper run plus working in a fish and chip shop and a motorbike store. At 13, he took sponsorship proposals to Geraldine shops which involved him doing everything from car washes to holding demonstration events.

9) His childhood hero was the Scottish world rally champion Colin McRae. "He always gave it absolutely everything," Paddon said. McRae died in a 2007 helicopter crash.

10) Paddon was one of the sports stars who supported a flag change for New Zealand, saying he wanted to avoid confusion with Australia on the world stage. There have been mix ups at world rally events and Paddon has found people pointing at the flag on his car while uttering "Australia".