OVERDRIVE RACING’S TEN BRINKE LEAPS INTO FIA BAJA TITLE CONTENTION WITH VICTORY IN BAJA PORTALEGRE 5
Overdrive Racing’s Bernhard Ten Brinke stormed into contention to win the 2020 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas by claiming a useful victory in a rain-soaked Baja Portalegre 500 in Portugal.
Holding third at the night halt of an event shortened by the adverse weather conditions, the Dutchman and his Belgian navigator Tom Colsoul set the second fastest time on the final selective section and that was sufficient to overhaul overnight leader Guillaume de Mevius and claim the win by 1min 17.12sec.
Miguel Barbosa had managed to seal the Portuguese Cross-Country Championship in his Ultimate Vodafone Team Toyota Hilux, prepared by Overdrive Racing, despite suffering power steering issues on the second selective. Miguel and navigator Pedro Velosa had been sixth on the opening super special stage.
Spanish amateur driver Jesus Calleja teamed up with Overdrive Racing again to drive the third Hilux. He and navigator Eduardo Cabato were 38th after the super special, were handed a notional time for stage two and went on to record the 15th fastest time in the last run to secure a similar position in the overall standings.
Ten Brinke and Barbosa were classified in third and sixth through the opening super special stage of 3.36km on Friday morning. The stage win fell to former FIA World Cup winner Vladimir Vasilyev, with young Belgian driver Guillaume de Mevius in second place.
Crews then tackled a selective section of 75.31km between Ponte Sûr and Cabeço Vide in appalling conditions after heavy morning rain. De Mevius defied the odds and the sodden state of the tracks to card the fastest time of 69min 02sec to snatch an outright lead of 2min 54sec from Portugal’s Pedro Dias da Silva.
Ten Brinke came home in third with the lead Overdrive Toyota, while Barbosa had already clinched the Portuguese Cross-Country title, despite failing to finish the stage because of power steering issues. All but nine of the field received a notional time, after the official decision to stop the action in the adverse weather conditions, and that pushed Calleja down to 28th overall.
The decision was then taken to substantially modify the timetable for Saturday with the two longer selective sections replaced by a shorter flooded stage of 79.12km.
The second fastest time of 1hr 02min 41sec, behind Vasilyev, enabled Ten Brinke to confirm the win and a major boost to his chances of winning the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.
The remaining two rounds take place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in mid-December. Ten Brinke and Vasilyev are currently locked in a duel for the crown.
2020 Baja Portalegre – results after SS4 (unofficial @15.30hrs):
1. Bernhard ten Brinke (NLD)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 2hrs 18min 11sec
2. Guillaume de Mevius (BEL)/Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 2hrs 19min 28sec
3. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Dmitry Tsyro (RUS) MINI Cooper Countryman 2hrs 19min 31sec
4. Aron Domzala (POL)/Maciej Marton (POL) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T4) 2hrs 21min 01sec
5. Vasily Gryazin (RUS)/Oleg Uperenko (LTV) SRT Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 2hrs 22min 06sec
6. Alejandro Martins (PRT)/ José Marques (PRT) MINI John Cooper Works Rally 2hrs 27min 03sec
7. Laurent Poletti (FRA)/Cyril Debet (FRA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 2hrs 32min 00sec
8. Alexander Ré (PRT)/Pedro Ré (PRT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T4) 2hrs 35min 01sec
9. Luis Recuenco (ESP)/Sergio Jimenez (ESP) MINI John Cooper Works Rally 2hrs 36min 22sec
10. Victor Conceição (PRT)/Valeria Geo (BRA) MINI All4 Racing 2hrs 37min 14sec
15. Jesus Calleja (ESP)/Eduardo Corbato (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 2hrs 41min 30sec