Munchi’s amazing points haul in Finland
FIA World Rally Championship

Neste Oil Rally Finland, 2–5 August 2007

Final Report

The Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team have achieved their best team result on their first outing to Neste Oil Rally Finland, round nine of the FIA World Rally Championship. With Luis Perez Companc/Jose Maria Volta finishing the event in eleventh position and team–mates Federico Villagra/Jorge Perez Companc in 14th this gave the team a joint total of five manufacturer points – increasing their 2007 total to six.

It was only decided recently to swap this event, with their original plan to do Rally Germany, and the decision couldn’t be sweeter as the Munchi’s Ford WRT now looks to chase down OMV Kronos for fifth in the Manufacturers’ Championship.

This was the first time either Argentine driver had seen Finnish roads but it didn’t seem to upset their rhythm with this splendid performance. Similar to the speed of Argentine events the pair felt at home on these extremely fast flowing open roads.

True to its nature, the event offered average speeds in excess of 132kph much to the liking of Munchi’s team owner Companc. A total of 360.34 stage miles were covered, 186.1 of which made up leg 2 making it the longest leg for a 2007 WRC event thus far.

Twenty–five world rally cars entered Rally Finland but by final time control on Sunday that number had cut down dramatically, showing Finland’s true form as one of the most demanding rallies in the WRC.

Since the WRC was conceived in 1973, headquarters at this year’s Rally Finland were again in the thriving town of Jyväskylä – hometown of the world–famous architect Alvar Aalto. The event proved to be a huge success with hundreds of thousands of rally–mad spectators flocking to catch a glimpse of the world’s best drivers and cars.

Unlike many of their fellow WRC competitors both Munchi’s crews and their Ford Focus WRC06 cars came through the event with a predominantly clean run.

Companc’s only concern was a hydraulic problem which occurred on the second pass of the 33.01 kilometre Ouninpohja test forcing him to use a manual gear change until the problem was resolved at leg 2 final service. This was an event well suited to the Argentines driving style and it showed with his strong finish, boosting his experience and confidence on fast gravel surfaces.

Team–mate Villagra had a trouble free rally with his Munchi’s Focus RS, and just found it difficult to commit fully to his pacenotes. This caused a slight moment on stage 14 when he hit a bank causing no damage to his car however. The 38–year–old also had a big scare halfway through the final test of the rally coming off the road but was able to rejoin and finish the event very happy.

Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team Driver Luis Perez Companc said:
"It has been a fantastic rally for me and the team and for both cars to score points on our first visit to Finland is more than we could have wished for. I have enjoyed this rally so much, the stages have been so thrilling and we have not put a mark on the car. Now we have much more experience of the fast gravel roads and I am sure this will help when we go to New Zealand where the roads are similar. My feeling with the car and confidence has improved so much during this rally. Its been a fantastic job by Federico as well and his performance has been stunning.

"The rally started well for me and I was having so much fun on the Friday stages. The car felt fantastic and I was enjoying the fast stages. On Saturday I found things harder as we were running close to the front and there was a lot of loose gravel on the top of the roads making things very tricky and the car was sliding more than normal. Then also we had a small problem with the gear change and had to use the manual system which caused us to drop some more seconds."

Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team Driver Federico Villagra said:
"What a result we have had today, two cars scoring manufacturer points is absolutely amazing. But we nearly didn’t make it back to the finish. We had a very scary moment on the last stage and slid wide into the side of the road and through some grass; we were so lucky to not have any damage. The team never thought that it would be possible to come to Finland for our first time and both cars to score points; we could not have dreamt of this before the rally.

"My first day was good, really enjoyable and I learnt a lot about the speed and the lines we needed to take over the jumps. It was a good day and we only made one mistake, sliding wide, but didn’t lose much time or do any damage. I found it difficult with my pacenotes on the first pass of the wide stages on Saturday and things just weren’t working well. I was finding it hard to concentrate on my driving while still thinking about the pacenotes. But on the second pass it went much better and I was quite happy at the end of the day."

Final Leaderboard
1. M Gronholm/T Rautiainen FIN Ford Focus RS 2h 57m 26.1sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS +24.2sec
3. S Loeb/D Elena F Citroen C4 +1m09.9sec
4. C Atkinson/S Prevot AUS Subaru Impreza +3m02.8sec
5. H Solberg/C Menkerud N Ford Focus RS +4m29.4sec
6. X Pons/X Amigo E Subaru Impreza +7m00.5sec
7. U Aava/K Sikk EE Mitsubishi Lancer +7m39.6sec
8. M Östberg/O Unnerud N Subaru Impreza +9m31.9sec
9. G Wilks/P Pugh GB Ford Focus RS +9m39.4sec
10. M Wilson/M Orr GB Ford Focus RS +11m13.4sec
11. L P Companc/J M Volta RA Ford Focus RS +12m00.3sec
14. F Villagra/J P Companc RA Ford Focus RS +18m07.2sec

Back To News
Ypres 2008 Finland 2008 Finland 2008 Finland 2008