Federico Villaga (Ford) clinched his third success in a row within the Argentine Rally Championship after claiming the win in the Rally de la Yerba Mate, fifth round of the national series held in Apóstoles.

For most of the drivers this was their first encounter with the red roads of Misiones, since the last time the Northern Province hosted a round was back in 2000. And the experience didn't turn out to be as pleasant as they though it would be.

The heavy rains that struck the region during the whole weekend made the roads almost impassable, and the slippery conditions contributed to a great numbers of spins and accidents during the race.

In the case of Villagra, he came up with a faultless and intelligent driving which enab led him cruise on Saturday to claim a one-minute lead over Gabriel Pozzo (VW) after the first leg of competition.

"It felt like soap on the surface. You could barely remain standing. However, we were clever enough to find the right pace to be fast but not furious" stated "Coyote" on the Service Park.

On Sunday the scenery was even worst, up to a point the organisers were forced to cancel the second run through the first two stages and left for the end of the rally the Super Special Stage.

But the final chapter of this chaotic story was as dramatic as the previous ones, since Villagra had to run the 3.14-kilometre circuit with a problem in the Fiesta's engine intake manifold which cost him more than 30 seconds, and almost the victory.

This triumph enables Villagra climb to first position in the standings with a 37-point lead over his team-mate Juan Marhcetto, who dismissed this round as the current regulations st ate. Pozzo now have 95.5 points.

Final Results

1º) F. Villagra - D. Curletto (Ford)
2º) G. Pozzo - D. Stillo (Volkswagen)
3º) A. Cancio - S. García (Peugeot)
4º) R. Martínez - F. Mussano (Volkswagen)
5º) I. Martin - M. Mercadal (Fiat)
6º) N. Díaz - G. Piazzano (Mitsubishi)
7º) F. Bassi - R. Rinaudo (Mitsubishi)
8º) O. Kovacevich - J. Kovacevich (Mitsubishi)

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