Munchi's extend gap in Manufacturers' Championship Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud have finished seventh on this weekend's Rally d'Italia Sardegna; round six of the FIA World Rally Championship. The result gives the Munchi's Ford World Rally Team...
Munchi's extend gap in Manufacturers' Championship
Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud have finished seventh on this weekend's Rally d'Italia Sardegna; round six of the FIA World Rally Championship. The result gives the Munchi's Ford World Rally Team two valuable manufacturer points as they again extend their lead over Suzuki WRT in the championship.
Team-mates Federico Villagra/Jorge Perez Companc finished the event 14th with a solid performance all weekend. The result sees Villagra lie ninth in the Drivers' Championship while Solberg stays in seventh.
Solberg made a steady improvement throughout the event setting a multitude of stage times inside the top-10. The Norwegian finished leg 1 in eighth, leg 2 in seventh and finally finished the tricky last day in seventh overall.
'Coyote' Villagra had a consistent event finishing all 17 special stages with top-15 stage times. This was a special event for the Argentine as it marked his first event, in 2007, with the Munchi's Ford WRT driving the Ford Focus RS WRC.
For the Norwegian the only issue was a slight setup flaw on the opening day but after some changes in midday service he was able to fire back, setting the fourth fastest stage time on the final 15.39 kilometre stage on Friday.
A slight loss of brake feel forced Villagra into caution mode on Saturday morning as he cruised through the famous Monte Lerno test. Fortunately the issue was nothing major and his Focus RS was able to be fully restored by his Munchi's mechanics during midday service for the remaining eight stages of the event.
The rally kicked off in the ultra-exclusive resort town of Porto Cervo as crews dove over the start ramp in front of thousands of excited Italian rally fans. From there the real action began Friday morning as the first car headed into the 16.43 kilometre Monte Corvos test.
Weather conditions varied over the three days which the event ran, throwing out everything from clear blue skies and sunshine to a thunder-storm on Saturday. Luckily for crews all 17 stages stayed predominately dry with just small patches of dampness. Rally Sardinia covered 344.73 kilometres with all three legs being run to the south of Rally HQ which again was located in Olbia.
The next event for the Munchi's Ford WRT will be the next WRC round -- Acropolis Rally of Greece -- where Villagra will return and be joined by local driver Aris Vovos who will pilot a Focus RS to score manufacturer points for the team.
Munchi's Ford World Rally Team Driver Federico Villagra said:
"It has been a tough, but good, rally for us. This was the event where I started for Munchi's last year and on the recce we made all of our pacenotes faster, which just shows how much our pace has improved from last year. The car has been great on this rally and my main focus was to complete the event without any problems. The stages are very tricky and it's easy to make a mistake so we concentrated hard to get to the end with everything intact. So in the end we have achieved what we wanted and the confidence is good for the next event in Greece. Henning has done well and has scored more important points for the Munchi's team to keep us ahead of Suzuki."
Munchi's Ford World Rally Team Driver Henning Solberg said:
"I never really quite got into this event and struggled for most of it to discover a good setting for the car. I couldn't find a comfortable rhythm on the stages as they are extremely difficult and there are so many rocks at the side of the road to catch you out. So for me it was important to not make mistakes and get more experience of the car on gravel roads. We don't get a chance to test so the time on the stages is vital to get a good feeling and with Greece and Turkey so close after this rally, I wanted to get finished here with no problems and take the information on our set-up to help improve our pace on the next rally."