The Munchi's Ford World Rally Team concluded its season on the Pioneer Rally Japan last weekend, but unfortunately rather than adding to its tally Federico Villagra and Henning Solberg both failed to score.
Villagra had a bad start to the event and he lost over two and a half minutes with a broken drive shaft on the opening test causing him to crawl through the next two stages with caution.
Fortunately though, his team of mechanics managed to repair his Focus RS WRC07 changing both the driveshaft, and gearbox as a precaution, within the given service time limit.
'Coyote' then tried to make up ground, moving up from 25th to 15th by the end of day one and then finishing day two in eighth and on course for a point.
However on the Sunday he was powerless to hold off a hard charging Petter Solberg and with just three stages to go slipped to ninth.
At least he did finish however, something Henning Solberg failed to do after going off the road in SS23 [see separate story].
"It has been a good rally to finish our 2008 WRC season with but it is slightly disappointing we finished just one place away from the points," Villagra reflected. "On stage 2 of the rally the car started moving around a lot and I knew there was a problem so I had to back off a lot not to crash the car off the road. We found a broken drive shaft at the end of the stage which meant I had to drive carefully through to service but unfortunately this meant more time lost.
"The team did a great job in service and they changed the drive shaft and the gear box without going more than the 30 minutes allowed for midday service.
"The conditions this weekend were some of the trickiest I have ever experienced and the ruts caused by the rain were unbelievable. These ruts also meant new small jumps on the stages which weren't originally in our notes.
"We had a small intercom problem on Saturday when I found it hard to hear Jorge but apart from this everything else went well. I am happy with how the year has been though and it has been great fun driving with the Munchi's team and having Jorge [Perez Companc] as my co-driver."
Villagra thus concludes 2008 having notched up nine points, while the team managed 22 points - holding fifth spot in the manufacturers' for most of the year until slipping behind Suzuki in Japan after P-G Andersson and Toni Gardemeister finished fifth and sixth.