Munchi's World Rally Team driver Federico Villagra has completed his first test of the Ford Fiesta S2000 he will drive on Rally Argentina, which starts tomorrow
The Argentine driver, a regular in the World Rally Championship, has never competed in the Fiesta or in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge - of which the Villa Carlos Paz-based event is a round. He starts from number two, just behind Skoda driver Nasser Al-Attiyah, another WRC driver making his IRC debut.
Following his first test of the Fiesta on a road close to Carlos Paz yesterday, Villagra said: "I was really taken aback by the performance of the car. The chassis is quite tough and well balanced, which enables you to corner and brake in a smooth way. Of course it is far from matching the Focus I drive in the WRC, however it has a lot of potential."
Villagra will be in for some tough competition to finish the event as top local, with former Group N world champion Gabriel Pozzo confident of a good showing in his Subaru Impreza. Despite recent results pointing to Super 2000 cars still holding the advantage in terms of performance, Pozzo feels he can exploit new Group N regulations permitting a 33mm rather than 32mm restrictor on the turbo.
"We are really motivated," said Pozzo. "We started the season with a victory in the first round [of the Argentinian Championship] and we're looking forward to this race. The stages are those I enjoy the best and I had a good feeling with the Subaru. We know we can be competitive and match the S2000's pace."
The event starts with a lakeside superspecial stage tomorrow [Friday] night before two full days of rallying over the weekend.
The fifth Intercontinental Rally Challenge was the best yet, and it was Skoda UK driver Andreas Mikkelsen who emerged as champion from a tense five-way shootout at the season finale. Matt Beer reviews the season