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Silk Way Rally: Rally officially cancelled - "Nobody wants to visit Russia now". | 23.04.2014


Sealine Rally Qatar: Stage victories for Al Attiyah, Sunderland and Abu Issa. | 23.04.2014


Australia 2014: Robinson / Skinner winning AORC opening round in Kalgoorlie. | 21.04.2014


Sealine Rally Qatar: Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons back in the Desert. | 20.04.2014


Breslau Rally: Rally will be more International - new full Cross-Country class. | 15.04.2014


Dakar Rally 2015: Peugeot unveiled first details of Peugeot 2008 DKR Proto. | 15.04.2014


FIM World Cup: Paulo Gonçalves - "It's not about luck - it’s about hard work". | 15.04.2014













































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Baja Spain: Amazing starterfield in amazing times - and shortly after the SWR.









By Robb Pritchard These days, with the Greek crisis dominating the news and politics, Europeans are well used to being effected by what is happening in other countries... and it is the same with the Spanish Baja, Round 4 of the FIA World Cup for Cross-country Bajas.

Although it is something that happened in Russia that is the cause. Having a part of the "Dakar Series" take part on the other side of the continent a week before means, that many teams only have the resources to do either one or the other... and many chose the Silk Way Rally.

Only FIA World Cup regulars Leonid Novitsky and Jean Louis Schlesser, both noticeable absentees from the Russian marathon event, entered the 2011 Baja Aragon against a host of eager locals, but Schlesser in his rear-wheel drive buggy was always going to be at a massive disadvantage to his rival's 4x4 BMWs, Mini and Mitsubishi Racing Lancers.

And so it seemed like easy points for Novitsky as he eased his colourful X-Raid BMW X3CC off the starting ramp and into Friday's prologue stage, but straight away it was the Portuguese drive Filipe Campos who stormed into the lead.

"In Portugal diesel cars run with much bigger restrictors so the car feels 'castrated'. So it's good to come here where the rules are different, where I can really feel the full potential of the car," the Russian said.

A reporter at the Silk Way, who shall remain anonymous, was a little dismissive of the Baja Aragon, claiming that the field was made up of Dakar B-team drivers, those who scrap in the dust and sand for places just outside the Top 10, but I think that does a lot of the drivers a big disservice.

Certainly, if Leonid Novitsky, current Cross-country world champion and 2011 World Cup points leader, was thinking that he'd just have to pick up the pace a bit to bag some easy points he was very much mistaken. In fact he was comprehensively out-driven.

The dusty Spanish tracks are fast and rocky and even though the July sun wasn't quite as harsh as normal, perhaps making it a little easier on the drivers and mechanical components, but the 617km route could never be described as easy. There are no easy routes in rally-raid. It was also great to see such a wide variation of vehicles n the event.

We've perhaps become quite used to seeing the BMWs and the slightly wacky Racing Lancers, but Rui Sousa was in contention for a podium in his Isuzu D-Max until his clutch went and Portuguese T2 champion Nuno Matos was again in his stunning new Opel Astra Proto.

Add to these the SAM Mercedes, the hulking Opel Antara of Hungarian Szalay Balazs, G-Force's monstrous G-Force Proto and the amazing looking new Mini, here driven by Yser team boss Bernardo Moniz Maia to 8th place, and you have an amazing selection of cars competing on some the toughest tracks in the world of motorsport. I have never quite understood why the WRC gets relatively so much coverage, even the almighty Dakar seems constantly starved of airtime.

And the Baja Aragon also has it's place on the list of motorsoprt greats. Now into its 28th year names like Vatanen, Lartigue, Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah have been etched into the winner's trophies and for 2011 a new one joined them.

After 17 years of trying Filipe Campos unleashed the latent power of his BMW to win every stage apart from the last to claim a dominant victory, ahead of 2009 Dutch national rally champion Bernhard Ten Brinke in his Racing Lancer.

Going into the final stage in third Novisky was perhaps looking forward to the lower step of the podium but three punctures in the stage cost him a lot of time. Baja cars only carry two spares and they could have had a picnic in the time it took to wait for Moniz Maia to arrive in his Mini All4 to donate his spare. 7th place was certainly not what he came here hoping for and his corner of the X-Raid service area was a rather subdued one.

Four time Baja Aragon winner Schlesser could only manage 10th place in the end - but was winning the 2-wheel drivce category. He´ll surely be looking forward to the Pharaons Rally in Egypt at the beginning of October where his buggy will come into its own.

The next round of the FIA World Cup will be in Hungary on the 25th of August and recovered from the gruelling Silk Way Rally where rally-raid new-boy Vladimir Vasliev sensationally won a stage, last year's winners G-Force will be back to join the world class field.

(My grateful thanks goes to Deny and Alex from the Konoba in Hum, Croatia for letting me use their internet)

2011/07/25 | 03:12 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/PRITCHARD












Silk Way Rally: Rally officially cancelled - "Nobody wants to visit Russia now". | 23.04.2014 11:42 | NEW




Dakar Rally 2015: Dakar Tour has visited Tokyo and the Japanese competitors | 23.04.2014 11:05 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Stage victories for Al Attiyah, Sunderland and Abu Issa. | 23.04.2014 10:56 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Marc Coma - "Terrain completely different to Abu Dhabi" | 21.04.2014 17:59 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Joan Barreda - "Really pleased with the stage in Qatar" | 21.04.2014 17:34 | NEW




TORC 2014 VIDEO: "Duel in the Desert" impressions of the Primm Valley race | 21.04.2014 17:14 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Al Attiyah, Holowczyc and Vasilyev first winner in the cars | 21.04.2014 15:48 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Honda´s Barrera and Sonik the early bike / quad leader | 21.04.2014 14:56 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar VIDEO: Rally scene and short interviews before the start | 21.04.2014 14:29 | NEW




Australia 2014: Robinson / Skinner winning AORC opening round in Kalgoorlie. | 21.04.2014 13:39 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar VIDEO: Overdrive Toyota Hilux testing before the rally | 21.04.2014 13:33 | NEW




Australia 2014: GHR Honda Team dominates Condo 450 Rally in the bikes | 21.04.2014 13:21 | NEW




SCORE 2014: Armin Schwarz and AGM aim for podium at Imperial Valley 250 | 20.04.2014 18:59 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Team Honda HRC to defend championship leadership | 20.04.2014 18:50 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Competitors from 18 countries to start in Qatar Monday | 20.04.2014 18:23 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons back in the Desert. | 20.04.2014 15:17 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Yazeed Al-Rajhi rejoins Toyota Overdrive Tam in Qatar | 19.04.2014 15:48 |




Sealine Rally Qatar: After a short break, four X-raid Mini are back in action | 19.04.2014 15:24 |




Donaldson CC: Tovey first footballer in Imperial Auto Celebrity Challenge | 19.04.2014 15:08 |




Hungarian CC: Second race, second win for Polish Chevrolet at Turkeve Cup | 16.04.2014 19:50 |




Sealine Rally Qatar: Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah to compete in a Mini All4 Racing | 16.04.2014 19:22 |




Breslau Rally VIDEO: Official trailer of the legendary Breslau Rally Poland 2014 | 15.04.2014 23:08 |




Dakar Rally 2015 VIDEO: The Lion is back - Peugeot 2008 DKR presentation | 15.04.2014 23:05 |




Breslau Rally: Rally will be more International - new full Cross-Country class. | 15.04.2014 20:06 |




Dakar Rally 2015: Dakar Tour stopped in the Netherlands with Cyril Despres | 15.04.2014 19:24 |




Dakar Rally 2015: Peugeot unveiled first details of Peugeot 2008 DKR Proto. | 15.04.2014 19:05 |




Hungarian CC VIDEO: Short impressions Turkeve Cup - Nissan Qashqai Proto | 15.04.2014 18:53 |




Hungarian CC: Double bad luck for Hungarian Solyom Team at Turkeve Cup | 15.04.2014 18:41 |




Australasian Safari: Competitors from all around the globe - Rallysafe System | 15.04.2014 18:13 |




Dakar Rally 2015 VIDEO: Tatra-Union - Loprais and Buggyra Dakar Forces | 15.04.2014 17:39 |




FIM World Cup: Paulo Gonçalves - "It's not about luck - it’s about hard work". | 15.04.2014 17:38 |




Sealine Rally Qatar: QMMF announces route for Sealine Cross Country rally. | 14.04.2014 17:43 |




Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: Marc Coma - "We fought until the last kilometer" | 14.04.2014 17:11 |




Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge VIDEO: Official video impression D5 in Abu Dhabi | 14.04.2014 16:24 |




Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge VIDEO: Summary Vasilyev Mini All4 Racing Team | 14.04.2014 16:19 |




Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge VIDEO: Kazakhstan Teams Interview Sven Quandt | 14.04.2014 16:13 |




TORC 2014: Kleiman adds second Truck 2014 - keeps busy at Primm Valley | 14.04.2014 15:55 |




TORC 2014: Canadian two-truck team Sle Co Race had a challenging weekend | 14.04.2014 15:47 |




TORC 2014: Cenni wins season opener - Kvamme gets first career podium | 14.04.2014 14:26 |




TORC 2014: Hoek welcomes Nitto & Trailready with solid start at Primm Valley | 14.04.2014 14:19 |




















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