Munchi’s Ford prepared for WRC comeback in Mexico

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By Olivier Ferret

25 February 2011 - 15:48
Munchi’s Ford prepared for WRC (...)

The Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team will make their comeback to the FIA World Rally Championship for the fifth consecutive year at next week’s Rally Mexico.

Nine-time Argentine Rally Champion, Federico Villagra, returns to the WRC to head up the South American team alongside fellow countryman, Jorge Pérez Companc.

Mexico will mark the first of a nine-round programme for the Munchi’s squad in Ford’s new challenger for 2011 – the Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

Villagra has already gained some experience driving M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta S2000 in 2010 – the car which shares the same underpinnings as the Fiesta RS WRC.

This week, however, the Argentine travelled to Portugal and successfully completed over 300 km testing in the new car. Despite being the first time that Villagra has tested the Fiesta RS WRC, the gravel roads in Portugal helped Villagra prepare for the dusty road stages in the high-altitude plains of Central America.

Altitude and ambient temperature will be the main issue for the Munchi’s Ford crew in Mexico. As the air is less dense at 2,500 feet, the engine of the Fiesta RS WRC will produce approximately 20% less power. The low air density also makes the coolers less efficient.

With a combination of high-altitude testing engine performance to the limit and some rocky stages, the Munchi’s driver will have to temper his pace with caution in order to avoid any mishaps.

However, with the help of the new Michelin tyre Villagra will be hoping to up the ante and improve on his previous visits to Mexico in 2008 and in 2010, where he finished seventh on both occasions.

Federico Villagra said: “I can’t wait to return to the WRC – it’s been nearly four months since I was in Spain and I’ve really missed it. I’ve had a good week testing in Portugal, the car has been running very nicely and I’ve been amazed by how responsive it is. It’s been my first time in the new Fiesta RS WRC and we’ve done over 300 km testing over two days so this should help me prepare for the gravel roads in Mexico. I don’t want to push too hard next week – we’ve got a new car and new tyres so I will want to build up a good feeling first and then we can take it from there. For sure, I’d like to beat my personal best [seventh] so if we are fighting in the top six in Mexico then I will be happy.”

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