Greek Rally Of Attrition Proves Drama-Filled For Munchi’S Ford
The Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team battled back after a series of knockbacks on the treacherous roads in Greece but were finally forced to retire after suffering engine woes on route to the rally’s penultimate stage.
Due to business commitments, Munchi’s Ford regular co-driver Jorge Perez Companc was unable to attend the hottest round of the WRC so Jose Diaz joined Villagra in the team’s Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
Friday saw the Argentine pairing travel north of the service park in Loutraki to tackle a series of stages totalling 141.33 km close to the base of Mount Kallidromo. The first stage was drama-free but Villagra reported brake problems on the second stage. Due to the limited parts that are available at a remote service, the Munchi’s Ford team were unable to fully rectify the problem whilst working on the car at Kamena Vourla.
During the afternoon Villagra coped as best he could whilst driving with three brake callipers after a problem with the rear-left calliper. A series of heavy knocks on Stages 4 and 5 also meant that his Fiesta RS WRC was suffering from front suspension damage. The problems eventually meant that Villagra was forced to retire before the day’s closing 25.05 km stage.
Saturday saw more problems for Munchi’s Ford as the team suffered a time loss of four minutes on the notoriously rough Ghymno stage as a result of engine problems. The team changed the high pressure fuel pump and some of the electronics at Service C in an attempt to sort the problem.
However, more engine woes followed during the repeat afternoon pass and at Service D the team changed the engine loom and more of the electronics before the day’s closing night stage. It was at this stage that the team decided it would be best for Villagra to call it a day so that the crew could properly assess the issues before the final day of competition. On Saturday evening, the main wiring loom was changed.
Sunday morning’s opening stages fared better for Villagra who had a clear run but engine gremlins returned as the Argentine driver was forced to retire for the final time with only two stages remaining.
Villagra will now return to Argentina to compete in the fifth round of the Argentine Rally Championship – Rally de Catamarco – next weekend where he will look to secure his second consecutive win driving a specially developed Ford Fiesta.
Federico Villagra said:
“Greece is a rally I have done well at in the past but there is no doubt that it’s been a very difficult event for us this year. It’s just felt like one problem after another and unfortunately it seems that the underlying problem is something that the team simply don’t have enough time to sort during the short service breaks we have on rallies. I think the car needs to go back to M-Sport to be looked at properly. It’s such a shame not to make it to the end but this is the nature of rallying and I must not dwell on it too much. Now I have the fifth round of the ARC to look forward to so I will be focusing my attention on that and hope that I can finish there with a victory.”
-source: munchi's ford