Villagra replaces Raies for remaining Munchi's attack Thirty-eight-year-old Argentine Federico Villagra is to replace current Munchi's Ford World Rally Team driver Juan Pablo Raies for the remainder of the 2007 season. Villagra will be co-driven...
Villagra replaces Raies for remaining Munchi's attack
Thirty-eight-year-old Argentine Federico Villagra is to replace current Munchi's Ford World Rally Team driver Juan Pablo Raies for the remainder of the 2007 season. Villagra will be co-driven by team owner Jorge Perez Companc and will drive the second Ford Focus RS WRC06 alongside Luis Perez Companc/Jose Maria Volta.
The move comes after Villagra showed amazing speed in Argentina last weekend winning the Production World Rally Championship category and finishing ninth overall on his home event. His placement into the team is effective immediately as he heads to a pre-rally test in Sardinia on Monday before competing on the event next weekend.
Team-owners, the Companc brothers, have high hopes that the new addition to their team will greatly help in an effort to score the team's first manufacturer point.
Rally d'Italia Sardegna gets underway next week and will be the fourth round of the Munchi's ten event campaign. Yet to score a point in the manufacturers' race the team are eager to attack the sandy, rocky, gravel stages in an attempt to break the duck.
The 342.86 kilometres of special stage distance comprises of 18 competitive tests, over 50 percent of which are completely different roads to previous years. Event headquarters are based in the city of Olbia situated in the north of the Mediterranean Island, and the exclusive tourist resort of Porto Cervo will play host to the Ceremonial Start and finish of the event.
After a disastrous start in Argentina last week, which saw him retire from leg 2, Luis Perez Companc will be searching for his first driver's point on a similar surface to the Argentine roads. The 35-year-old finished the final leg of Rally Argentina with a bang, setting some quick stage times, a feat he will be looking to repeat throughout the entire duration of this event.
For Villagra this will be a whole new experience as he jumps behind the wheel of a World Rally Car for the first time. He is no stranger to success though. For 10 years he raced in moto-cross at a high level then started rallying in 1997; gaining South American Rally Champion status in 2001 and claiming six Argentine Championship titles from 2001 to 2006.
He comes to Sardinia with 13 WRC event starts since 2000 and two Group N class victories on Rally Argentina in 2006 and 2007. 'Coyote' Villagra will be looking to transfer his fountain of Group N knowledge to the sport's top class in the remaining seven Munchi's nominated events this year. Recently celebrating a birthday and a PWRC victory in Argentina last week Villagra wants to impress on his first outing for the Munchi's squad.
Munchi's Ford World Rally Team Driver Luis Perez Companc said:
"My home event did not go as expected, the problem we had on the first main stage set us back for the whole event. However the positive side was the fact that I had some good times on the final day's stages and I am taking this knowledge to Sardinia with me next week. I'm aware this will be a tough event but our aim is still the same, to finish the rally, get more experience and try to pick up points for both the Driver and Manufacturer Championships. We now have Federico on board the team and I was very impressed with his pace in Argentina last weekend; he is very fast on the gravel surface. His aim is the same as mine and together we will be pushing for points for the Munchi's Ford World Rally Team."
Munchi's Ford World Rally Team Driver Federico Villagra said:
"I am very happy to be part of this project and I will try the best for my new team. The idea is to try and score points for the Munchi's team but driving safe at the beginning and learning as fast as we can. It's a new car and different power but I will try my best and hopefully show that I have the pace to score points for the team. I have never raced in Sardinia before but I am really looking forward to it, I have heard some areas are similar to Argentina which I think will be a big help. This is my first time in a WRC car so I don't really know what to expect, all I know is that it's going to be a lot faster and require a lot more concentration. My aim is to try to finish the rally so we can have as many miles with the car from the start."
-credit: muchi's ford