Villagra entertains fans with season best on home event
"I want to say a huge thank you to all my fans"
Argentina’s Federico Villagra secured his best result of the season by finishing sixth for the Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team at Rally Argentina this weekend.
The nine-time Argentine Rally Champion and co-driver Jorge Perez Companc shone at their home event and entertained fans from start to finish in the Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
During Friday’s repeat loop of stages based in the Traslasierra mountains, Villagra reported engine problems during the classic El Condor stage and drove on three cylinders as a result. Villagra managed to nurse his car back to service where the Munchi’s Ford mechanics changed the fuel injectors and some of the electronics.
The repeat afternoon pass fared better for Villagra who was locked in a close battle for sixth place with M-Sport Stobart Ford team-mates Mads Østberg and Matthew Wilson. The recently-turned 42-year-old finished the day eighth overall, 13.5 seconds adrift of Wilson. At the end of day service, the team changed the front suspension of Villagra’s Fiesta RS WRC after it had suffered heavy knocks from the rocks that had been dragged onto the stages.
On Saturday, Villagra reported difficulties finding the right braking spot on the mixed road surfaces but the Munchi’s Ford driver took advantage of Wilson’s puncture on Stage 10 and moved into seventh place.
Villagra – affectionately known as “El Coyote” by the Argentine people – moved further up the WRC leaderboard when Jari-Matti Latvala was forced to retire on Stage 13 due to a mechanical problem. The driver was lying sixth overall at the end of the second day, 57 seconds behind Norway’s Østberg.
The final day proved trouble-free for Villagra and Argentina’s rally star pulled into the final service at Carlos Paz greeted by hundreds of adoring fans and delighted with his best ever result in Ford’s Fiesta RS WRC.
Federico Villagra said: “It’s been a great weekend and this is a good result for us so I’m very happy. I want to say a huge thank you to all my fans, there were so many spectators on the stages this weekend and it’s been an incredible atmosphere from start to finish. We had a good battle with Mads and Matthew on Friday which kept me pushing all day but I wasn’t quite so happy with the car set-up. Then we really enjoyed the stages on Saturday – after we made some small set-up changes, the car was running brilliantly. It’s certainly not been easy this weekend, the stages have been rougher than I can remember them being in previous years and there’s been a few changes to the itinerary this year which have been a challenge. This is a very special rally to me and I am just glad to have finished with a good result for my people.”
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