Villagra and Clark have the Munchi’s for some Turkish delight
The sixth round of the Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team’s 10-event campaign in the FIA World Rally Championship takes place next week at the Rally of Turkey. Federico Villagra returns with regular co-driver Jorge Pérez Companc who missed the most recent round in Greece for personal reasons.

Joining the Argentine squad for the second time this year will be Scotsman Barry Clark with new co-driver Paul Nagle calling the notes. Clark was recently called up by the Munchi’s squad to compete in Jordan where he finished 12th despite not partaking in recce due to his late call-up. This will be his first proper WRC event in a World Rally Car with a full reconnaissance and he will be a nominated point scorer for the team.

Showing good speed last week in Greece, despite retiring from day 2, Villagra will look to continue his consistent form which has seen him score three points finishes in five events this year. The Argentine currently occupies tenth in the Drivers’ Championship on eight points.

Clark sees himself going from mechanic to Munchi’s driver in the space of two weeks. During the Acropolis Rally last week the Scot was a mechanic on the rear left of Aris Vovos’ Ford Focus RS WRC07 which the Greek legend used for his home event. This car is now being used by Clark in Turkey meaning he has an in-depth relationship with the car before he jumps behind the wheel next week; something that could greatly benefit the 25-year-old.

First incepted into the WRC in 2003, Rally of Turkey is renowned for its tough conditions not so dissimilar to those in Greece. Running again in summer will mean a big test for all crews as temperatures are set to peak at more than 30 degrees centigrade. However, as seen in the past, anything can happen in the region and competitors will certainly be aware of this factor.

The event will again be based in the south-west of the country with Service Park located in Kemer town centre which was also used in 2006. The location of the event is set in a resort style town but it will be no holiday for crews who will battle 19 demanding stages over 360 kilometres of competitive distance.

A ceremonial start on Thursday night will see crews pass over the ramp inside the grounds of the Akdeniz University before hitting the 2.6 kilometre Antalya super special. The rally will cover a slightly different format to what is usually seen as there will be four service points on the opening two days as opposed to the standard three more commonly used.

The Munchi’s Ford WRT will again be looking to gain points on Suzuki in the Manufacturers’ Championship. Currently the Argentine outfit sits in fifth and six points ahead of the Japanese Manufacturer.

Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team Driver Federico Villagra said:
“Apart from our broken suspension on day 2 in Greece, the last few events have went really well for us and it has been a great learning experience to have them all together with not much space in between. It makes it easier for me to learn and transfer the feeling with the car from one rally to the next. With this in mind I would say we are quite confident going to Turkey.

“We did the event in 2005 but this time the circumstances are much different and we won’t be able to push too hard from the start. But that’s the plan anyway. We need to build the speed up over the rally, not make any mistakes and hopefully collect more points for me and the team. It would be great to stay inside the drivers’ championship top-10 after the first half of the year.”

Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team Driver Barry Clark said:
“To say I’m excited about the challenge ahead is an understatement! It was a fantastic help to have competed in Jordan but this is still my first event at competitive speed in a WRC car and my first with a new co-driver. You just can’t go out and drive one of these cars flat out from the start. But I know what I have to do. It is extremely important for me to finish here to get the competitive experience for my other two events this year.

“So the plan is to keep a steady head and hopefully do a good job for Ford and the Munchi’s team. I’ve prepared well for this rally from physical fitness to reviewing the stages from previous years and talking to the team engineers about set-up for the rough gravel conditions.”

Event Information
Date: 12-15 June 2008
Round: 8 of 15 FIA World Rally Championship
Based: Kemer, Turkey
Stage surface: Gravel
Total stage distance: 360.12km
Number of stages: 19
Longest stage: 31.03km Olympos (stages 17 & 19)
Central Service Park: Kemer town centre
Ceremonial start: Akdeniz University

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