Companc finishes strong after unfortunate beginnings It's been a brilliant display from the Argentine Munchi's Ford World Rally Team today after leg 2 dramas on the opening special stage yesterday spoiled hopes of a maiden...
Companc finishes strong after unfortunate beginnings
It's been a brilliant display from the Argentine Munchi's Ford World Rally Team today after leg 2 dramas on the opening special stage yesterday spoiled hopes of a maiden championship point for the team.
Luis Perez Companc/Jose Maria Volta finished the day setting top eight stage times on every test while team mates Juan Pablo Raies/Jorge Perez Companc drove a consistent rally all weekend to finish the event in a strong 12th position.
Companc was set to showcase his talent on home soil yesterday until broken rear suspension 3.7 kilometres into the opening stage brought a halt to his Argentine campaign. Keen to show his home crowd the sort of pace he is capable of, the 35-year-old raced through the final leg's stages setting a sixth quickest time on the 16.82 kilometre El Condor -- Copina 1 test.
The Event had been considerably shortened after bad weather forced transport delays back from Buenos Aires leaving several competitors and officials stranded at the airport. This meant all but one stage of Friday's competition was cancelled and an amended itinerary was created for the final leg today in order for the event to have sufficient distance to qualify for full championship points.
Crews battled all sorts of conditions over the two proper days of competition from sunshine and blue skies to fog and torrential down-pours. Roads were a mixed bag from with slippery surfaces and dry dusty sections making tyre choice a prime factor in success.
With the overnight rain storm, today's stages became quite difficult for drivers as massive ruts began forming, especially during the second pass over the two main stages competed on today.
With Companc's re-entry into the final day he was able to drive over the historical El Condor -- Copina stage which has been branded as one of the most unique tests with its lunar-like landscape that rises 2195 metres above sea level.
Raies once again used this rally to gain experience of the Munchi's Ford Focus RS WRC06. The Argentine driver set out on Thursday night to finish the rally, which he did successfully, steering his car home in 12th position in front of his massive local fan-base. After a few suspension problems during leg 2, Raies and co-driver Jorge Perez Companc maintained a consistent pace throughout the remainder of the rally, never putting a foot wrong.
The next event in the Munchi's ten event campaign will be Rally d'Italia Sardegna, 18--20 May, where the team will look to score their first manufacturer points and hopefully the first driver's point for Companc and team-mate Raies.
Munchi's Ford World Rally Team Driver Luis Perez Companc said:
"It has not been a good home rally. After the delay on Friday, I was really looking forward to getting out in the stages among my home fans. But on the first stage we hit a large hole in the road which threw the car sideways and we hit a bridge. Immediately the rear suspension was broken and we couldn't go any further; there was still so many stages left before service.
"However I really liked today's stages (leg 3) very much but my ambition was for points on this rally; unfortunately with the problems this was not possible. It was really good running in front of my home fans, this motivated me a lot after the problems I had and I really appreciated their help. After the problems I had, I was running only for the fans and the thousands of people on the stages who were cheering for me. I had high expectations for this rally but I have to put the problems behind me and concentrate on the next one."
Munchi's Ford World Rally Team Driver Juan Pablo Raies said:
"We started the rally with the dampers much too soft and the car felt really bad, it was crashing out a lot and touching the road; the feeling was really bad with the car and I was struggling to keep it safely on the road. We broke the front windscreen after hitting a rough patch on the road.
"Apart from that the only problem we had was a broken intercom on the last loop of main stages; we actually completed a full stage using only hand signals, then my co-driver used the intercom from the road section headsets so I could listen to the pacenotes. We had a consistent rally and I couldn't believe the number of fans on the stages; in some places it was like a human wall at the sides of the road."