|Baja Portalegre: Schlesser and Novitskiy before a maybe slippy FIA WC final.|
Like the rest of the country, the region of Portalegre suffered also from some violent rains in recent days, a situation that turns out to be very positive in terms of another edition of Baja Vodafone Portalegre 500: Actually, the threat of dust disappeared and the ground is now smoother but also more slippery, with some mud, which could make the task of the drivers and riders hardest.
This was the focus of the major favorites in the car category, present at the press conference prior to the event, and where the Russian Leonid Novitsky, current World Cup leader, stated that the existing advantage of 14 points "should be enough to secure the title, but the Portuguese event is always be very demanding and of unpredictable result. But I hope I can come back home with the victory in the World Cup, since to win the baja will be much more difficult."
As for Jean-Louis Schlesser, he was again a true "gentleman": "One of the reasons that brought me to Portalegre was José Megre's memory, because it was with him that I started to run on cross country events. The other was to participate in a four-wheel drive car, since I am building one for next season and I needed to test. As for the World Cup, I have little or no hope, because here there are many are good drivers, with great experience of the event."
The new national champion, Miguel Barbosa, starts for this edition without the pressure of the title and this can help greatly in his ambitions: «The rain that fell made disappear the dust but the surface becomes more treacherous, so that the concentration will be crucial. I will fight with all forces for my fourth victory in the race, knowing that it won't be an easy task.»
For Filipe Campos, his inexperience at the wheel of the Mini All4Racing in this type of surface can be an handicap, but the Oporto's driver starts determined: «My approach doesn't change, I want to be the fastest in the prologue and the fastest at the end of the two selective sectors on Saturday. In few words, I want to win. And for that I will give the maximum from the first kilometer.»
On the bikes category, it will be interesting to see the fight between the new TT world champion, Hélder Rodrigues, and the best national riders, with great experience in Portalegre, like António Maio, Luís Ferreira, Ruben Faria and Paulo Gonçalves, just missing to the meeting the Portuguese TT champion, Mário Patrão, excluded by regulation reasons.
The first day will be marked by the dispute of the prologue, from 8h30 for the bikes and from 15h00 for cars, held on the outskirts of Portalegre, on a distance of 5520 meters and decisive for the starting order for the second day of the race.
2011/10/28 | 00:10 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/BAJA500