by Rob Wilkins

TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH FEDERICO VILLAGRA: CLICK HERE

Federico Villagra took over as the lead driver for the Munchi's Ford World Rally Team this season and thus far the 'ice cream' team has already scored 19 points - 5 more than was managed in '07 - and the squad still has four of its ten events to come. Crash.net Radio caught up with 'Coyote' ahead of this weekend's Rally Finland...

Crash.net:
Federico, how are you feeling ahead of the Rally Finland?

Federico Villagra:
I am pretty happy to be competing in Finland for the second time. There are going to be a lot of new stages and that will make the rally even more difficult than we first thought. But Finland is a difficult rally anyway. I know it will be tough and we need to try really hard.

Crash.net:
Finland is one of the true classic events in the WRC and is very, very fast and tough for newcomers. What target have you set yourself for this weekend?

FV:
We are going to try and get some points for the team. That is our goal for this rally. We know it is difficult. But we are going to be pushing and trying to stay on the road and do our best.

Crash.net:
How did the shakedown go?

FV:
The shakedown was really promising. We made some changes to the car and in the end it felt very good.

Crash.net:
You started the season strongly with three points finishes in succession in Mexico, Argentina and Jordan. Sardinia, Greece and Turkey were tougher, but you did get manufacturers' points on the last event. How pleased have you been with your year to date and the progress you have made?

FV:
We had a good rally in Turkey - and in Greece too. The Acropolis was a very promising event, but sometimes you have some troubles with the car and you cannot be where you are want to be. Overall though, things are going really well.

Crash.net:
You are effectively the lead driver this season, with Luis-Perez Companc stepping back. Have you felt under more pressure?

FV:
No, not more pressure. Luis decided to do only a few rallies this year and this is his last rally. That doesn't put me under more pressure. I am trying to push my hardest to get the best result on every event. It has been good for me so far.

Crash.net:
Luis-Perez Companc is competing in his final WRC event this weekend - how much will you and the Munchi's team miss him?

FV:
I would like to have had him for one more year here, but he decided at the beginning of the season that he would only do a few rallies and now he has decided that Finland will be his last one. It was something that he planned and now the day has come.

Crash.net:
What has it been like for the team having Henning Solberg for a few events and working with Barry Clark too?

FV:
On some events we have had Henning working with us and that has helped a lot. He has scored some good points for the Munchi's team. Every time we have a chance to have him on our team is positive.

Crash.net:
Do you speak to the other Ford drivers on events and exchange information?

FV:
Not a lot of information in terms of the car. The cars are set-up pretty much the same. But we talk about different things in terms of what springs they are using. We are always talking about different things.

Crash.net:
How are you going to approach the other three events in the second half of the season that the Munchi's squad is doing?

FV:
We are going to keep trying to get some points on every event. We are pushing for personal points as well for the drivers' championship. We are trying to improve on each event. That is the goal for the season.

Crash.net:
You are competing at home in the Argentine Rally Championship as well. I understand that is going very well?

FV:
We are leading the national championship. We had a rally last weekend before coming over here. Things are going very well. We are 13 points ahead in the championship. Everything is going the right way.

Crash.net:
Has the time spent in the WRC moved you up to a new level?

FV:
Yeah, the more events you do the more you improve. I need to learn a lot here though and there is still a lot to learn. We need to improve in every rally.

Crash.net:
Any idea what will happen with the Munchi's team yet in 2009?

FV:
They are working on it. It has not been decided yet. But there is a chance we will do it again next year. Something could be decided next month - maybe...

Crash.net:
Final question, what do you want to achieve by the end of the year and what do you want to see the Munchi's team achieve?

FV:
From my point of view if I can stay in the top-ten in the drivers' championship that would be the achievement of a personal goal. For the Munchi's team we want to stay ahead of Suzuki and that would be great for us.

TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH FEDERICO VILLAGRA: CLICK HERE