03 Mar 08
The Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team began its 10 round 2008 WRC campaign in Rally Mexico and finished with two cars inside the top ten.
The result moved the team ahead of Suzuki into fifth in the Manufacturers’ championship.
Competing as part of the Munchi’s squad for the first time, Henning Solberg had been on course to finish in fourth place until a puncture on the penultimate stage dropped him to fifth.
“I was trying my best for fourth position but unfortunately we got a puncture on the last four kilometres of stage 19 and I had to drive on it through the Superspecial and lost too much time. OK, fifth is a good position and it is great that Mikko was the one who went into fourth as he needs the points more than I do. We hit a rock on the second stage of the rally and broke a part of the suspension but luckily I was able to temporarily fix the problem with two allen-keys. This meant we could go flat out on the next stage and I did that and finished in third position. We also won stage 14 which was a great feeling because I was going flat out then. I am now looking forward to Argentina and to see if we can get on the podium there.”
Solberg’s team-mate Federico Villagra scored his best ever WRC result by finishing in seventh position. The reigning Argentinean rally champion had a difficult time on Saturday when his Ford Focus developed a power steering problem which cost him around five minutes and dropped him to ninth overall. He also received a two-minute road penalty before the rally began for accidentally completing too many circuits of the Superspecial during recce.
“This rally has been lots of fun and to finish with my equal best WRC result is a fantastic way to start the year,” said Villagra. “The Munchi’s team is now ahead of Suzuki in the manufacturers’ championship after just one event which is a great start. Yesterday was very difficult when I lost my power-steering and had to do two stages without it; it is very tough on the arms and shoulders. The team mechanics did a great job to replace the power-steering on the car at service and we didn’t get any penalty because we lost no time. Apart from this we have had no problems all rally and the car and new Pirelli tyres have felt really good. Now I will head to Rally Argentina, which is in my home event, full of confidence and hopefully we can go even better there.”