Heroís welcome for Villagra and Munchiís on home soil
Munchiís Ford driver Federico Villagra gave local fans something special to cheer about on day one of Rally Argentina, the fifth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. The local man is lying in a point-scoring position at the end of day one after thrilling fans in the hills high above Villa Carlos Paz this afternoon.

Seven-time Argentine rally champion Villagra had already received a warm welcome in his home town of Cordoba at the Super Special stage on Thursday night but he gave the legions of enthusiastic local fans even more to celebrate about as he charged up the field on day one.

Lying in 11th place after the first stage, Villagra and co-driver Jorge Perez Companc overcame a difficult start after stalling the car on a hairpin bend on SS2 La Cumbre Ė Agua de Oro. He recovered from that error and by the end of the morning had moved up to eighth place despite suffering a couple of heavy knocks in the early stages and a loose steering wheel on SS5.

Sixth place on SS6 Ascochinga Ė La Cumbre helped consolidate his position in the overall standings and he is well placed to put pressure on Matthew Wilson just ahead of him on day two.

Villagra is in an enviable position as the rally heads west tomorrow to cover some of Rally Argentinaís most iconic stages. Local knowledge of stages such as Mina Clavero and El Condor, where altitudes of over 2000 metres bring extra challenges for the car and drivers, could prove to be an important advantage.

Munchiís Ford driver Federico Villagra said:
ďThe rally has started well for us but we had a few problems this morning which slowed us down. We made some changes to the suspension in service and they have been a big help for the second pass. Eighth position after the first day is perfect, itís exactly where I want to be as I know tomorrow is going to be a long, difficult day. The fans on the stages are great and in some places itís just like a river of people on both sides of the road cheering us on.Ē

Other rally news
After taking the rally lead on Thursdayís Super Special stage Sebastien Loeb dropped down the field this morning and finished day one trailing his team mate Dani Sordo and Fordís Mikko Hirvonen. Petter Solberg is right on the pace of the leaders lying just 2.6 seconds behind Loeb. Meanwhile Stobart Ford driver Henning Solberg is chasing down his brother from his position of fifth place at the end of day one.

Leaderboard at end of day one
1. D Sordo/M Marti (ESP) CitroŽn C4 1h45m11.3s
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen(FIN) Ford Focus RS +5.1s
3. S Loeb/D Elena (FRA) CitroŽn C4 +16.3s
4. P Solberg/P Mills (NOR) CitroŽn Xsara +18.9s
5. H Solberg/C Menkerud (NOR) Ford Focus RS +47.9s
6. J-M Latvala/M Antilla (FIN) Ford Focus RS +1m06.4s
7. M Wilson/S Martin (GB) Ford Focus RS +2m23.0s
8. F Villagra/J Perez Companc (ARG) Ford Focus RS +2m38.9s
9. S Ogier/J Ingrassia (FRA) CitroŽn C4 +3m14.4s
10. C Rautenbach/D Barritt (ZIM) CitroŽn C4 +3m48.2s

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