With four stages of the South American event remaining on Sunday, New Zealander Paddon and co-driver John Kennard are eight minutes in front of Patrik Flodin with Michal Kosciuszko a further 20.2s adrift in third.
Despite his healthy advantage, Paddon admitted to slightly frustrating day as he managed the gap aboard his New Zealand World Rally Team-entered Subaru Impreza.
“It would be nice to be pushing hard and racing,” said Paddon, who won the previous PWRC round in Portugal. “But we’ve got the lead and we’ve got to keep it. We don’t want to do anything stupid.”
Paddon’s task wasn’t made any easier with the continued power problems his car has suffered. His Symtech Racing mechanics had focused on what they thought was an electrical issue at the end of day one, but when the former Pirelli Star Driver still only had 70 per cent of the power available to him today, it became clear that the fault lay elsewhere.
“We don’t know what to do,” said Paddon. “We could change the turbo, but if we do that, we risk something else. Maybe it’s better just to keep going with the car as it is.”
Behind Paddon, it was a day of recovery driving for Flodin and Kosciuszko. Both returned to the event under SupeRally regulations and both traded times in a fascinating fight for second place.
“We don’t know what happened to my car yesterday,” said Impreza driver Flodin. “It just stopped. But now we are just pushing as hard as we can for second place. It’s disappointing, but we have to keep going, second would be a good result after the problem.”
Kosciuszko recovered from the broken steering arm his Mitsubishi suffered on Friday’s final test to post fastest times on his way back to a provisional podium spot.
Wildcard entrant Alejandro Levy (Mitsubishi) had started the day in second place in PWRC, with Dmitry Tagirov (Subaru) just 40 seconds behind. Levy dropped out with an engine problem while Tagirov holds fourth overnight as Flodin and Kosciuszko powered ahead.
Peruvian champion Nicolas Fuchs is in fifth overall at the completion of day two after he returned to action following his steering failure on Friday. A puncture on stage 12 was his only major issue.
Martin Semerad, who started the Villa Carlos Paz-based event leading the PWRC drivers’ standings, survived a brush with a wall and a puncture to start the final day in sixth place in his hired Mitsubishi.
Mexican Benito Guerra was pegged back by a turbo problem on his Mitsubishi but soldiered through day two in seventh position, one place ahead of Argentine wildcard Ezequiel Campos.
Ukrainian Yuriy Protasov is ninth in his Mitsubishi with veteran Italian Gianluca Linari 8.9s adrift in a borrowed Lancer. Briton Harry Hunt overcame a gearbox leak and two punctures to hold 11th in his two-wheel drive Citroen DS3 R3.