|Baja Portalegre: Portugal again welcomes the final World Cup round.|
Welcome to Portugal! Like in every year, the legendary "Baja Portalegre", in 2013 held for the 27th time, is the closer for the FIA Cross Country World Cup season. But in this year something is different: After the cancellation of the "Pharaons Rally" in Egypt (postponed to May 2014) the World Cup is still open for some teams.
Today (Friday, November 1st) the event started with a 6-kms super-special. Thousands of spectators joined the race, intensely celebrating the rally with party, barbeque, beer and wine. The organizers found a nice track for spectators and drivers both, fast, narrow, between some trees, passing a hill and two small water crossings.
52 cars in the FIA and 16 cars in the local Amateur Class signed in for the race, but especially in the FIA Class some teams didn´t make it to the start. So today midday 35 FIA- and 16 Amateur-cars started in the race, 10 cars are scored for the World Cup. Also many bikes, quads and buggies are allowed in the race.
The main players in Portugal: Kristof Holowczyc (Mini All4 Racing), Miguel Barbosa (Mitsubishi Racing Lancer), Reinaldo Varela (Overdrive Toyota), Boris Gadasin (G-Force Proto), Marek Dabrowski (Nissan Navara), Martin Kaczmarski (Mini All4 Racing), Pedro Grancha (BMW X1 Proto) and many more. Who is missing? For example Costel Casuneanu from Romania (Mitsubishi), Miroslav Zapletal and Zdenek Porizek from Czech Republic or Nunzio Coffaro from Portugal.
The race is especially important for the Pole Kristof Holowczyc and his German codriver Andreas Schulz, who are fighting for the title with their X-raid Mini All4 Racing. "We have to make the 5th place minimum" said Holowczyc, "then we have the title!" Today he was happy with his car, they finished 2nd with 04:46 minutes after today´s winner Miguel Barbosa (Mitsubishi Racing Lancer, Portugal, 04:39 mins) and nearly 2 minutes in front of Reinaldo Varela (Brazil, Toyota Overdrive). "We made a small mistake, but nothing serious" Holowczyc said.
Also for the Russian Boris Gadasin the race is a "special date". After the "Silk Way Rally" in Russia, the Baja Portalegre is the first FIA race for his new built G-Force Prototype, which definetely has the look of a "Citroen 2CV 2.0". But after the first water-crossing the engine was going off and he had to restart slowly. "We have a new engine inside" he told in the evening. "In Russia we started with 8 cylinders, now we have a 10 cylinder engine and are here for testing. Today the ignitor was not working correct, but we could fix this and will see what will happen tomorrow."
In the rankings the Russian Aleksandr Zheludov finished 4th with his Overdrive Toyota (04:50) in front of Nuno Matos (Opel Mokka Proto, 04:51), Martin Kaczmarski (Mini All4 Racing, 04:52), Marek Dabrowski (Toyota Overdrive, 04:57), Pedro Grancha (BMW X1, 05:01), Andre Amaral (BMW X3 CC, 05:05) and Joao Cardoso (Nissan Navara, 05:07).
The main race will be held tomorrow (Saturday, November 2nd), the competitors have to drive two sections with 200 and 215 kms each, so 415 kms overall. Later at 16:30 there will be the prize giving ceremony - and we will have a new FIA World Champion 2013!
2013/11/01 | 19:12 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS