Kiwi Paddon leads as Latvala crashes out in Rally of Argentina

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Villa Carlos Paz (Argentina) (AFP)

New Zealander Hayden Paddon holds a handsome lead in the Rally of Argentina on Saturday after Jari-Matti Latvala crashed out.

Latvala was in command with a 14.5-second cushion when his VW Polo careered off the road on stage 14, with both the Finn and his co-driver Miikka Anttila reported to have emerged unscathed from the accident.

Paddon, in a Hyundai, went on to claim the stage by 0.9sec from his teammate Dani Sordi to end the second day half a minute clear of world champion Sebastien Ogier.

"That changes things a little bit, doesn’t it?" the 29-year-old Paddon said when told of Latvala's retirement.

Paddon, who won his first WRC rally in 2015, posted the fastest time in three of Saturday's six specials against none for three-time champion Ogier.

Sunday's final day features three stages.