Munchi's Ford World Rally Team driver Federico Villagra equalled his best ever WRC performance with a 'fantastic' fourth place on Sunday at the Acropolis Rally of Greece.
The Argentine driver thrilled fans as his battle with Citroen Junior driver Conrad Rautenbach for P4 came right down to the last stage of the event.
The seven-time Argentine champion put the disappointment of Rally d'Italia Sardegna, where he and co-driver Jorge Perez Companc failed to finish, behind him as he produced a virtually flawless performance on his way to fourth.
Villagra, with Jose Diaz taking over Jorge Perez Companc's job in the co-driver's seat, had a steady start to the rally on Friday morning as the crews made their way through 119.37kms of classic Acropolis Rally stages to the north of Rally HQ in Loutraki.
With rough, rocky roads climbing high into the Parnassus mountains, avoiding damage to the car was paramount and Villagra used all of his knowledge to avoid the pitfalls that caught out other drivers.
He lost a few seconds on the slippery SS4 Bauxites, sliding off at a hairpin. But a stunning time on the final stage of day one, the 23.76km SS6 Thiva, moved him up to seventh overall giving him an excellent road position going into the tricky stages on day two.
Day two featured three new stages for the Acropolis Rally with the drivers facing two passes over the loop to the south-west of Service Park in Peloponnese region. While the front-runners were slowed as they cleared the loose gravel, those coming after were tested by the large rocks on the stages.
Villagra posted consistent top-ten times on the morning loop avoiding any major problems but again showed some good pace in the afternoon as he tussled for position with Rautenbach. A fifth place on SS11 Ghymno moved him up to fifth place overall and boosted his chase to equal his best ever WRC finish on the final day.
The fight for position with Rautenbach continued on day three. Mechanical problems for Evgeny Novikov moved Villagra up to fourth early on, but Zimbabwean Rautenbach was hot on his heels and by the midway point of the day had closed the gap to just 0.9 seconds.