Rally d'Italia Sardegna
Tough Sardinian Challenge Prevents Villagra From Top Ten Result
Federico Villagra battled back from an early setback at Rally Italia Sardegna to mark his 50th outing in the FIA World Rally Championship with four Manufacturers’ points for the Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team.
The Argentine driver was eager to mark his “golden” WRC anniversary with his first top-ten result in Sardinia but only 2 km into Stage 5, he ran his Ford Fiesta RS WRC wide and hit a bridge. The incident tore the car’s right rear wheel off and forced Villagra and co-driver Jorge Perez Companc to retire for the day.
On Friday evening the Munchi’s Ford team worked relentlessly on the car until 2am where the rear right corner, the front bumper, rear roll bar and wheel were replaced. The sump guard was also changed as well as extensive body work repairs to the rear. At the end of the first day, Villagra was sitting 32nd overall.
On Saturday, the Munchi’s Ford driver slowly crept up the WRC leaderboard and was sitting 24th overall by the midday service. At Service D, the Munchi’s team changed the sump guard and dropped the rear-ride height for the repeat afternoon pass.
A trouble-free afternoon followed for the nine-time Argentine Rally Champion and Villagra finished the end of the second day 19th.
The final day posed no problems for Villagra who was keen to experiment with some different set-ups in his Fiesta RS WRC. The Argentine pulled into the final service 17th overall.
Next weekend Villagra will compete in the third round of the Argentine Rally Championship – Rally de Cutral Có y Plaza Huincul – in a specially developed Ford Fiesta.
The following weekend the Munchi’s Ford driver will compete at his home event as the FIA World Rally Championship travels to Argentina from 26 – 29 May.
Federico Villagra said:
“Sardinia has always been a difficult rally for me – I don’t think I’ve finished here in the top ten before. It’s just an event I always seem to have problems with but if we hadn’t retired on Friday then I think we could have had a good result. I’m just relieved to have made it to the end and with some points for the team. I was trying to drive as well as I could today, to try out some new things but we did not need to push and just wanted to drive within our limit. Now I must look forward to two important rallies on the calendar – the third round of the Argentine Rally Championship followed by my home event in the WRC, Rally Argentina. I’ve finished fourth in Argentina before so I’m aiming for a top-five result there this year. I’ve got good experience in the Ford Fiesta RS WRC now so hopefully I can get a strong result on the roads that I know well.”