Munchi’S Ford Ready For Desert Duel With The Ice Man
Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team driver Federico Villagra is set to go head-to-head with Kimi Räikkönen at next week’s Jordan Rally in an attempt to move ahead of the 2007 Formula One Champion in the FIA World Rally Championship Drivers’ Standings.
Federico Villagra is currently four points behind Räikkönen, and Munchi’s Ford four behind the Finn’s Team Ice 1 Racing in the Manufacturer’s Standings – meaning a strong points finish for the squad’s Ford Fiesta RS WRC next week could see Villagra and Munchi’s Ford take the initiative in the championship battle.
Villagra has contested the WRC’s only Middle Eastern rally twice before, finishing sixth in 2008 and seventh at last year’s event. The nine-time Argentine Rally Champion has used the previous two WRC events to get to grips with piloting the new Fiesta RS WRC, but Villagra now feels he is up to full speed and is aiming for his best finish of the season so far.
This year’s Jordan Rally remains largely unaltered apart from the Mai’n stage, which returns to the itinerary for the first time since 2008. The event will once again commence in Jerash – one of the largest and best preserved Roman architecture sites in the world - and many of the stages are run at an incredible 400 metres below sea level.
Next week will also include a repeat pass of Jordan River - one of the longest stages in the championship covering a whopping 41.45km, and proof that Jordan is a real test of endurance for the WRC crews who must also contend with scorching ambient temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius.
Last weekend Villagra took part in the first round of the 2011 Argentine Rally Championship (ARC) in a locally developed Ford Fiesta, but his challenge for a win was derailed by fuel and gearbox problems.
The second round of the ARC – Rally de Villa Dolores - will take place from 22 – 24 April in Cordoba.
Federico Villagra said:
“Jordan is one of the hardest events on the WRC calendar – the stages are very challenging and it can get very hot in the car which can definitely affect your concentration. It would be a very difficult event to start the season with so I’m glad we’ve had a couple of other rallies before this one to help me get to grips with the car. I’ve found a good set-up in the Fiesta RS WRC now, we tried out a lot of new things in Portugal, and if we can get a good feeling after the first stage then I think that will be a very good sign. That was the main problem I had in Portugal, I struggled with feeling and set-up on the first day, but if I can get this sorted from the beginning then I think Jordan will be a strong event for us.”