Munchi's score maiden championship point The Munchi's Ford World Rally Team has successfully scored its first manufacturer point at this weekend's BP Ultimate Acropolis Rally of Greece, round eight of the FIA World Rally...
Munchi's score maiden championship point
The Munchi's Ford World Rally Team has successfully scored its first manufacturer point at this weekend's BP Ultimate Acropolis Rally of Greece, round eight of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Competing in the fifth round of his team's ten-event campaign Luis Perez Companc, with substitute co-driver Jose Luis Diaz, has finished eleventh overall claiming one point for his Argentine team. Fellow team-mates Federico Villagra/Jorge Perez Companc looked promising until a clutch fault on Saturday forced the pair to retire from the day on the opening stage.
Like many years past this event stood true to its reputation as one of the most difficult rallies in the championship. Leg 2 played host to the mammoth, 48 kilometre, Agii Theodori test which became a defining faction in the overall results.
It was on this stage where Villagra's Ford Focus RS WRC06 incurred clutch problems under the horrendously rough conditions forcing him to SupeRally into the final leg. The treacherous conditions dealt extreme punishment to competitor's tyres, many succumbing to punctures and chronic tread-attrition.
Of the 334.44 kilometres of competitive distance 21 stages were covered - two being cancelled pre-event due to environmental issues - mostly to northern and western regions outside of Athens. The weather was typical Greek sunshine with dry, hot temperatures throughout the three competitive days.
Forced out by an injury sustained after their heavy crash in Sardinia last month, Companc's regular co-driver Jose Maria Volta, was forced to spectate as 22-year-old Diaz came in to substitute for this event. It was an amazing opportunity for the youngster and a fantastic feeling to be a part of his team's debut manufacturer' point.
Companc made it through leg 1 without any problems finishing the day in eleventh position just 6.5 seconds adrift of Jan Kopecky in tenth spot. All was heading in the same direction on Saturday until a severe puncture over the second pass through Agii Theodori lost the Argentine over four minutes.
Determined to defend his manufacturer position coming into the final leg Companc pushed hard, fighting off a charging Jari-Matti Latvala, to claim the final position by just 7.2 seconds; finishing the final super special stage at the Olympic Equestrian Centre seventh quickest.
In only his second event in a world rally car Villagra showed vast improvement from his debut in Sardinia, setting two top-ten stage times during Sunday's final leg. Coming into the team as replacement for Juan Pablo Raies, the GpN veteran is beginning to understand what is required at the top level of the sport and how to generate the speed from it.
Munchi's Ford World Rally Team Driver Luis Perez Companc said:
"This has been a very exciting rally for me and to finish off by scoring the first manufacturer point for my team is absolutely amazing. I had to push quite hard at the end as I was under pressure for my position but I managed to hold it off to collect the point. We had the usual problems on this tough rally and I had to adjust to a new co-driver; but we came through it well and concentrated right to the end.
"This rally has a very slippery surface and I found the car was moving about quite a lot on top of the loose gravel. I actually thought there was something wrong with the car as it was behaving very different from normal. Leg 2 was one of my hardest days for a while; it was tough going. Jose is a very good co-driver, we had a good recce and he did a good job in the car this weekend."
Munchi's Ford World Rally Team Driver Federico Villagra said:
"We have had a much better rally and showing much better speed than in Sardinia a few weeks ago. I am still using this time to get used to the car, and Jorge, but it is starting to feel much better. Friday's stages were rough but very fun, especially the small stage; it was very enjoyable and easy to drive. These cars are amazing, the ground can be so rough but you don't even have to look at it you just look straight ahead and drive over everything and it just goes so smoothly.
"The first rally in Sardinia was not very fun as I was quite stressed with it being my first rally in a world rally car but now I am starting to have fun and it's great. About 23 kilometres into the first stage on Saturday we were coming through a slow uphill corner and it felt like the clutch was slipping and after about 100 metres the car stopped completely with no drive. Once it had cooled down we tried it again and again we had the same problem. We couldn't get the car to move because of the slipping clutch. The times we set today were much quicker and I'm very happy we set two in the top-ten."