Baja Poland, si comincia domani
La prima notizia eclatante è che Vladimir Vasilyev ha accelerato i tempi della sua convalescenza e ha deciso di tornare in gara, proprio in Polonia dopo lo stop forzato per motivi di salute, che lo ha costretto a rinunciare alla Baja Aragon e all'Ungheria. Il russo, al volante di una Hi Lux della Toyota Overdrive torna per riprendersi lo scettro del leder della classifica di Coppa del Mondo FIA che nell'ultima prova è passato, per soli 4 punti nelle mani di Nasser Al Attiyah. Ovviamente il pilota qatariano sarà lì proprio per impedire che questo accade e nuovamente, dunque, sarà battaglia fra Mini e Toyoya anche in questo ottavo round del calendario iridato. Questa volta però Nasser Al Attiyah non sarà l'unica Mini al via visto che naturalmente in partenza ci sarà anche il beniamino di casa, Krzysztof Holowczyc che cercando di vincere la sua gara prediletta - cosa che ha già fatto per ben 4 volte su sette - potrebbe proprio dare una mano al compagno di squadra, e non solo. Il team X Raid schiera ben sei Mini in Polonia, con Kuba Przygonski al via della sua prima gara su 4 ruote, dopo tanti anni in sella ad una Ktm con il team Orlen: oltre a lui ci saranno anche Erik Van Loon e l'altro polacco del team tedesco, Adam Malysz oltre al simpatico tedesco, Stephan Schott. Al via per il team italiano Tecnosport anche Denis Berezovskiy su Nissan Y62. La gara, lunga poco più do 700 chilometri si snoderà su due prove speciali il sabato e una la domenica.
Round eight of the 2015 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, Baja Poland (28-30th August), will feature six MINI ALL4 Racing. Leading the charge once again in their MINI ALL4 Racing will be present World Cup leading crew of Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA). Following on from a convincing win at the Hungarian Baja (14-16th August), Nasser and Baumel now lead the 2015 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup with just three races of the ten race-series remaining. Being in such a strong position doesn’t mean Al-Attiyah can afford to take his foot off the gas pedal, or Baumel to take his eyes off the road ahead. Competition within the 2015 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup is very strong and, arguably, Al-attiyah’s most dangerous rivals at the 706 kilometre event are the five fellow MINI ALL4 Racing crews starting alongside him at the Szczecin location. The second MINI ALL4 Racing on the entry list is that of Dutch duo Erik Van Loon and Wouter Rosegaar. This partnership has been amongst World Cup action on many occasions with excellent results to show for their hard work. With the honed MINI ALL4 Racing fast becoming a legend within Cross Country Rally, not one MINI ALL4 Racing crew can be discounted from taking top spot at the end of the event. Seated within MINI ALL4 Racing #106 will be the Polish pairing of Krzysztof Hołowczyc and Lukasz Kurzeja. Holowczyc is a veteran rally driver especially within his home country; four Baja Poland wins (2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014) is an envious amount of experience –and a seriously big home advantage. Even so, Baja Poland has two more Polish drivers with MINI ALL4 Racing controls in their hands…
Once again Adam Malysz (POL) sits alongside co-driver Xavier Panseri (POL) to further his experience within a MINI ALL4 Racing. Malysz first got to grips with MINI ALL4 Racing at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (round 2, 27th March – 2nd April and immediately showed his skills with a fine seventh-place finish despite a stage crash. Making his debut on four-wheels is Polish motorcycle cross country rally star Jakub Przygoński. With six starts in the motorcycle category of the legendary Dakar Rally, Przygoński has already shown the determination and skill needed to compete in what is the most arduous endurance land race. This experience will stand him in good stead when he takes control of the high performance MINI ALL4 Racing at Dakar Rally 2016. For Przygoński, the Baja Poland is all about learning how to make the best use of the MINI ALL4 Racing’s performance under race conditions. Helping him to adapt to four wheel competition will be vastly experienced co-pilot Andreas Schulz (DE).
The final MINI ALL4 Racing (#125) to compete in Baja Poland will be the popular figures of Stephan Schott (DE) and Pedro Velosa (PRT). Both men are cross country rally enthusiasts and between them have a wealth of Dakar Rally experience – Schott as a driver and Velosa as motorcycle rider and co-pilot. Boulevard Wały Chrobrego, Szczecin is the new starting location for Baja Poland. From this point the competitors drive to the first rally stage. On Saturday, two demanding stages start from a military site at nearby Drawsko Pomorskie. Sunday sees the final stage of the Baja Poland cover 120 kilometres around Dobra before the result ceremony.
Overdrive Racing’s hectic summer period continues unabated this weekend, when the Belgian team enters five Toyota Hiluxes in Lotto Baja Poland, round eight of the 2015 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. The three-day event is based at Szczecin Bezrzecze and the competitive action takes place in the military area of Drawsko Pomorskie and the community of Dobra on Saturday (August 29) and Sunday (August 30).Vladimir Vasilyev, the defending FIA World Cup champion, returns to the Overdrive Racing line-up after missing the last two Bajas in Spain and Hungary to recover from a heart procedure. The Russian lost the lead in the FIA World Cup to Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah after the Hungarian event and arrives in Szczecin trailing the Qatari by just nine points. With 30 points available to the winner in Poland, Vasilyev and his fellow Russian navigator Konstantin Zhiltsov know the importance of staying out of trouble over the demanding Polish military terrain and amassing as many championship points as possible with their Toyota Hilux.
Electrical problems cost the Polish duo of Marek Dabrowski and Jacek Czachor a potential top finish in Hungary two weeks ago and the Team Orlen-backed pair will be aiming to climb into third place in the FIA World Cup standings with a podium finish in Szczecin. Dabrowski finished fourth in his home event last season and knows that, in the absence of team-mate Reinaldo Varela, he has an excellent opportunity to move up the championship standings and settle in behind Al-Attiyah and Vasilyev.Poland’s Martin Kaczmarski also returns to the Overdrive Racing line-up for the first time this season. Third overall in last year’s Baja Poland, behind winner Krzysztof Holowczyc and runner-up Adam Malysz, Kaczmarski has often shown an impressive turn of speed on cross-country events.
He finished ninth overall in the 2014 Dakar Rally and other notable performances include second place in Baja Portalegre in 2013 and third in Baja Spain, fourth in the Russian Northern Forest Rally and fifth in the Italian Baja last year.Dane Jes Munk reached the finish of his first event with Overdrive Racing in 21st overall two weeks ago. He and French navigator Jean Brucy return to action in the fifth Overdrive Toyota.
“It’s great to have Vladimir (Vasilyev) back in the team and to have five drivers on Baja Poland for a second successive season,” said Overdrive Racing’s team director Jean-Marc Fortin. “This is an important event for us. Vladimir is very much in the hunt for a second FIA World Cup title and it’s also the last of four events in just a few weeks for the entire team.“This is not an easy event by any means, but we will be chasing the win and trying to put three of our five cars on the podium.”
A round of the FIA World Cup for a fourth successive season, the event will run over a route of approximately 706km and 414km of competition. Administration and scrutineering checks take place on Thursday and Friday and the ceremonial start gets proceedings underway at Boulevard Waly Chrobrego in Szczecin from 17.00hrs (CET) on Friday. Crews then tackle a six-kilometre Prologue stage from 18.00hrs.The meat of the action takes place on Saturday and crews will tackle two runs through a 144km selective section (Drawsko Pomorskie), starting at 08.30hrs and 13.35hrs, respectively.
The competitive action reaches a conclusion on Sunday with two runs through the 60km Dobra selective section, starting at 09.15hrs and 12.45hrs.
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies – positions after round 7:
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT) 180 pts
2. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) 171 pts
3. Reinaldo Varela (BRA) 97 pts
4. Marek Dabrowski (POL) 82 pts
4. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE) 82 pts
6. Erik van Loon (NLD) 72 pts
7. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU) 66 pts
8. Orlando Terranova (ARG) 37 pts
9. Harry Hunt (GBR) 32 pts
10. Joan Roma (ESP) 30 pts
10. Tapio Suominen (FIN) 30 pts
(Overdrive Toyota drivers in bold)
Race calendar: 2015 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.
20/02 – 22/02 Baja Russia
27/03 – 02/04 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
18/04 – 24/04 Sealine Cross-Country Rally Qatar
10/05 – 17/05 Pharaons Rally
25/06 – 28/06 Italian Baja
24/07 – 26/07 Baja Aragón
13/08 – 16/08 Hungarian Baja
27/08 – 30/08 Baja Poland
03/10 – 09/10 Rallye du Maroc
22/10 – 24/10 Baja Portalegre 500