Munchi’s motor to top-10 finishes and more manufacturer points
The Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team has finished this weekend’s Rally of Turkey with both drivers in the points on this eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Leading the way for the team were Munchi’s regulars Federico Villagra/Jorge Pérez Companc who finished one place off a drivers’ point in ninth position. The result sees Villagra maintain his position in the top-ten standings of the Driver’s Championship after what has been a series of recent strong points finishes.

Competing on his first ‘proper’ event in a World Rally Car with full reconnaissance under his belt was Barry Clark. Together with new co-driver Paul Nagle the pair put in a sterling debut effort to finish an incredible 10th place.

The Scotsman’s plan from the start was to finish every stage to gain maximum experience with the car and gather crucial set-up information on the rough gravel stages. Clark did just that, plus a little more, when he picked up the final manufacturer point for the Munchi’s squad.

Villagra has kept his nose clean throughout the event to be rewarded with another impressive finish. The only issues for the Argentine were a cracked intercooler on day 1 and the loss of full use of the brakes on Saturday’s 22.4 kilometre Phaselis 2 test where he dropped over one and a half minutes to the leaders.

It has been a perfect start to Clark’s three-event campaign and he ended up setting some stage times that were under two seconds a kilometre off the vastly more experienced top WRC crews.

The 25-year-old mastered all 19 special stages as he gained invaluable experience in the Munchi’s Ford Focus RS WRC 07.

The Munchi’s team have now strengthened their position in the Manufacturers’ Championship as they extend their gap over the Suzuki team by another three points. The crews here have coped extremely well with 360 kilometres of demanding action on the hot, Turkish stages and both have stayed out of trouble with consistently improving stage times.

Munchi’s now have four events remaining in their 10-round campaign and the next rally, Neste Rally Finland, sees Luis Pérez Companc joining fellow Argentine Villagra as they take the challenge of the ultra-fast Finnish roads.

Clark will next be in action on the ‘rally of 1000 corners’. This sees a switch from gravel to asphalt for the young Scot as he tackles the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse in October.

Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team Driver Federico Villagra said:
“We started off this rally with everything feeling good. The car was perfect and my feeling with it was great but my times were slower than I thought they would be. But I knew it would be a tough event and didn’t want to push anymore than I should. Then the mechanics made some changes to the roll bar and it transformed the handling.

“The times improved towards the second half of the rally and by the final day there was no real reason to push hard. We had reached a good overall position and I concentrated on not making any mistakes. It was important for me to get more driver points here and, together with our second driver for this event Barry Clark, we have strengthened our position in the manufacturers’ championship.”

Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team Driver Barry Clark said:
“This has been a dream rally for me. We set out with the intention of getting to the end and to finish inside the top-10 is amazing. The plan was to stay neat and tidy and that’s exactly how it went and I think that really was the key to our success.

“We did have a few scares though on the final stage when the water temperature light came on and we hit a large rock which took a chunk out of the wheel but luckily we made it back to the finish without any dramas. This result has helped immensely with my experience and confidence and it’s highlighted that I need to make my pacenotes more accurate with the faster speeds of these amazing world rally cars.”

Final results
1. Hirvonen / Lehtinen 4h 42m 07.1s
2. Latvala / Anttila +7.9s (diff. to 1st)
3. Loeb / Elena+25.7s
4. Sordo / Marti+2m 25.6s
5. Solberg / Menkerud +2m 33.7s
6. Solberg / Mills +2m 48.2s
7. Wilson / Martin +4m 24.2s
8. Rautenbach / Senior +7m 46.7s
9. Villagra / Perez Companc +9m 34.1s
10. Clark / Nagle +14m 48.8s

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