|Baja Portalegre: Holowczyc, Kaczmarski and Grancha win the race|
Today (Saturday Nov. 2nd) was the main day of the "Baja Portalegre 500" in Portugal, the last round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country rallies. As we reported, the new still unconfirmed world champions are Krzysztof Holowczyc and Andreas Schulz (Mini All4 Racing) in the cars overall and T1 (prototype) ranking, in the T2 production class eventual the Russians Alexander Baranenko and Roman Elagin (Toyota Land Cruiser 200).
The day began early at 07:45 am and the competitors had to drive two loops with nearly 200 kms each. The stage was very fast between a green wide open and later hilly area. The temperatures were again warm between 22 and 24 degrees, but instead of Friday the sky was cloudy with luckily no rain.
But even without rain the participants got really wet today: Several water-crossings and some fast slippery areas were both challenging drivers and material. Some cars got totally stuck, the organization helped with recovery trucks. So even if there was only one "real" day of rallying, many participants retired from the race, out of 35 cars only 22 reached the finish line in the city of Portalegre.
Like yesterday thousands of spectators crowded the stage, were parking with cars and mobile-homes directly next to the racetrack, enjoyed barbeque and offered beer and wine. "This is the best event in the year" some young guys shouted - they had a big party and slept in "their" rallycamp including a warming fire directly in the stage. "Come on, you must taste some local stuff"... Wine? Cheese? Fish? No, they offered "lemonade with white-wine"...no joke and it was really tasty!
In the overall cars we saw a big fight between the two X-raid Minis of Krzysztof Holowczyc and Martin Kaczmarski and the Overdrive Toyota of the Brazilian "Italian Baja" winner Reinaldo Varela. Finally Holowczyc and his German codriver Andreas Schulz won the race 05:09:59 hours in front of their team-mates Kaczmarski / Palmeiro (05:08:39).
But the Brazilian Varela lost massive time today so the third position after the two Minis was open for a surprise: The Portuguese couple Pedro and Inês Grancha reached the third place with their locally built BMW X1 prototype (05:28:13). They were followed by Marek Dabrowski / Jacek Czachor (Poland, Nissan Navara, 05:31:07) and the Russians Boris Gadasin / Aleksei Kuzmich (G-Force Proto, 05:34:18).
In the T2 production class the Italians Elvis Borsoi and Stefano Rossi won the rally in 05:43:59 hours with their Ralliart Mitsubishi Pajero, followed by Alexandre and Rui Franco (Nissan Navara, Portugal, 05:58:10) and Alexander Baranenko / Roman Elagin (Russia, Toyota, 06:13:05).
2013/11/02 | 17:54 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS