Fresh challenge in Wales for Munchi’s final attack
FIA World Rally Championship

Wales Rally GB, 29 November – 2 December 2007

Rally Preview

Wales Rally GB will be another brand–new challenge for both Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team drivers when they tackle the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship in one week’s time.

While it will be a totally new experience for both Luis Perez Companc/Jose Maria Volta and Federico Villagra/Jorge Perez Companc they will be on their preferred gravel surface from start to finish; apart from 1.1 kilometres when crews head to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff for the hugely popular indoor special stage.

After missing Rally Ireland, the Munchi’s Ford WRT now head to Wales for the final round of their ten event campaign with one goal in mind – points. Rally Japan was an extremely successful outing for the team with both drivers scoring their best ever WRC finish and the pair will head into Rally GB with the same focus in mind.

The event’s surface can very quickly become one of the slipperiest of the year as more and more competitors pass over the nine different stage venues breaking the surface and turning roads into roman mud baths. The fast, Welsh, forest roads can easily catch out the unwary with their high speed and traction hampering conditions.

Three hundred and sixty competitive kilometres make up the 17–stage route of Rally GB and this year the service park has been moved to a more central location on the Swansea Bay Docklands in an effort to generate greater public interest in this already popular event.

‘Coyote’ Villagra has reason to smile coming into this event as he has just won the 2007 Argentine Rally Championship by finishing second at last weekend’s penultimate round, Rally del Plaza Huincul. The Argentine’s second place has put him enough points clear to claim the title despite one round still remaining.

For Companc this will be a new event but one whose surface is quite favoured by the Argentine. History shows the Buenos Aires native has scored well on events such as New Zealand, Argentina and Japan which share similar traits to the stages in Great Britain. However, he is also well aware of his lack of experience on these demanding stages and will settle into the event before pushing to his limit.

This event will mark a solid year for the Munchi’s Ford WRT on their debut in the world rally championship. Currently the team is sixth in the manufacturers’ championship on 14 points and Companc lies 16th in the drivers’ with team–mate Villagra in 20th after his performance in Japan.

Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team Driver Luis Perez Companc said:
"This is my first time at this rally and I have heard both good and bad things about it. One thing for sure is that it will be very fast with the difficult weather conditions of rain, fog and of course mud. The stages should be similar to those in Japan and we had an excellent result there. This suited me very well and so hopefully we can have another performance like that on Rally GB.

"We will have a similar strategy to Japan but will probably start with more caution as it will be our first time on these roads and we just need to make sure our pacenotes are working at race speed. I have a very good feeling and high confidence after the last rally and generally I am quite happy with how the year has gone for us. We had a change of driver in the middle of the season and I think this made us stronger as a team and helped us all to achieve more experience of the rallies and the rally car. For sure this will help us in the future."

Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team Driver Federico Villagra said:
"We had a fantastic result in Rally Japan so I think my confidence on gravel is quite good at the minute. If things are feeling good in Wales then we will try to push and aim for a good result again to finish off the year. The stages will be similar to Japan and although this is my first time on the roads, I have heard that they are very good to drive on. The only thing I am concerned about is the weather.

"This rally is well known for rain and mud and for sure these conditions will make it very difficult to drive. It has been a good year for the Munchi’s team so far and we have managed to score both manufacturer and driver points and to finish most of the events. I think this will be the same plan for Rally GB; the important thing for us will be to finish without any problems, get experience of the roads and have a good set of pacenotes for the next time we do the rally."

Event Information
Date: 29 November–2 December 2007
Round: 16 of 16 FIA World Rally Championship
Based: Cardiff, Wales
Stage surface: Gravel
Total distance: 1271.94km (360 competitive)
Number of stages: 17
Number of different stage venues: nine
Maximum number of times the same stage roads are used: two
Longest stage: 28.89km (stage 14 & 16)
Highest elevation on stage: 420 metres above sea level (stage 2 & 5)
Central service park: Swansea Docklands
Ceremonial Start: 19:30 Thursday 15 October at Cardiff City Hall
Leg one: 30 November. Cars starting SS1, Port Talbot 1 at 09:53, tackling 140.8km
Leg two: 1 December. Cars starting SS7, Crychan 1 at 09:38, tackling 118.36km
Leg three: 2 December. Cars starting SS14 Brechfa 1 at 07:46, tackling 114.26km

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