Rally de Portugal
Villagra Pinpoints Strong Performance In Portugal
After gaining valuable seat time in the Ford Fiesta RS WRC in Mexico, Munchi’s Ford driver Federico Villagra is looking to up the ante when he tackles the tough gravel tests of Vodafone Rally de Portugal next week.
Villagra and fellow Argentine co-driver Jorge Pérez Companc used their first FIA World Rally Championship round in 2011 to learn more about the qualities of the new Michelin Latitude Cross tyre and get to grips with driving Ford’s new challenger – the Fiesta RS WRC. However, a retirement on the event’s opening stage meant Villagra was unable to glean as much from the new car as he had initially hoped.
Despite his retirement the 41-year-old driver returned to the rally on day two to experiment with different set-ups, and went on to grab two drivers' points and six manufacturer points for his Munchi's Ford World Rally Team.
Next week will be the third time that Villagra has competed in Portugal, and the Munchi’s Ford driver will be looking to take advantage of his experience of the rock-strewn Iberian roads to improve on his seventh place finish at 2009’s event.
Apart from the 3km street stage in Lisbon and the all-new Santana da Serra stage on Sunday this year’s rally route remains largely unaltered from 2009, providing an ideal opportunity for the Munchi’s Ford driver to push from the start.
Villagra will defend his Argentine title on an event near Buenos Aires this weekend where he will drive a new Super 2000-based Fiesta. The specially-designed car shares the same underpinnings as the Fiesta RS WRC, and Villagra will be hoping the extra experience from driving a similar car in Argentine rallies will strengthen his performance in the WRC as the season unfolds.
Federico Villagra said:
“I can’t wait to get to Portugal. We had a test there in February so the road conditions on the stages should be similar to what we experienced on the test. Mexico was a rally where we wanted get as many kilometres under our belt as possible. We experimented a lot with different ride-heights and set-ups, so it was very useful to return for the final two days after our retirement to learn as much as we could. The Fiesta RS WRC has got a really good chassis and it’s very responsive – I’m looking forward to trying it out again next week. I’ve also got the first round of the Argentine Rally Championship this weekend so I must concentrate on that first and then I will push for a strong result in Portugal.”