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Baja Spain Aragon 2009 Special-Newssection (FIA Cross Country Bajas)

This is the single-news section of the special of the Baja Spain Aragon 2009, third round of the FIA Worldcup for Cross Country Bajas. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Baja Spain: Peterhansel and Cottret debut in BMW at Baja Spain.

The German based X-raid Team will field five cars in the 2009 Baja Spain Aragon, round three of the FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, which takes place in the Aragón region of north-eastern Spain on July 24th-26th. The team recently clinched the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies for the third time. Newly-crowned champions, Guerlain Chicherit and Tina Thörner, will be joined in the line-up of BMW X3 CCs by the team’s latest signings, Stéphane Peterhansel and Joan ‘Nani’ Roma, and a two-car Yser Racing Team entry from Portugal.

Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret joined the X-raid Team after the Transiberico Rally and before a recent test session around Erfoud in Morocco. They will make their BMW team competition debut across the demanding Spanish Baja stages, which are likely to be hot and dusty in the heat of a Spanish summer.

The pair is one of the most successful partnerships in FIA Cross-Country rallying history and won the Spanish event with the Mitsubishi factory team in 2007. The switch to the X-raid team sees the French duo renew their working association with Catalan driver Joan ‘Nani’ Roma, who also joined Sven Quandt’s team shortly before the recent Transiberico Rally and also benefited from the Moroccan test.

Roma won Baja Spain on a motorcycle on four occasions and was a winner of his home event in a car with the late Henri Magne in 2005. He teams up with the experienced Frenchman Michel Périn for a second time in Zaragoza. Perin won the event on three occasions (1993, 1995 and 1997) with Pierre Lartigue.

The two new crew line-ups will use the Baja Spain to gain as much experience of the X-raid team as possible. "I remember how special it was to win the Baja Spain for the first time in a car and I would like to experience that feeling again with X-raid," admitted Roma. "I joined the team for the first time in Transiberico and was impressed by the handling and strength of the car. The recent test was also very useful and I am looking for my first win with the team."

Chicherit, Peterhansel and Roma will be hoping to give the X-raid Team a third Baja Spain victory in the space of seven years - Luc Alphand won the event in a BMW X5 in 2003 and Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah was triumphant last year with Tina Thörner on his way to the FIA Baja title.

"We have a strong team line-up and the goal, of course, is to win the race. But we are also looking for ‘Nani’ and Stéphane to continue to gain experience in the car," said X-raid’s team director Sven Quandt. "We carried out eight days of testing in Morocco recently and our drivers drove for around 3,000km in total, with Guerlain joining our two new drivers near the end of the session. The outcome was that we realise there is still work to be done in several areas to bring the car up to the performance and reliability levels that we require. Baja Spain will enable us to continue with this program. It will not be easy to win this event. There are several good drivers on the entry list and the stages are always demanding."

Filipe Campos and Jaime Baptista finished third overall in last year’s Baja Spain, behind Al-Attiyah and Roma, and head the two-car Yser Rally Team, which also includes the second all-Portuguese crew of Bernardo Moniz da Maia and Joana Sotto-Mayor. Campos was an early leader of the recent Transiberico Rally where da Maia sealed a career-best third overall in his BMW X3 CC.

"The Yser Racing Team has achieved some good results in the Portuguese Championship," enthused Quandt. "Filipe was leading the Transiberico Rally for several stages and was showing great potential. Then Bernardo achieved a fine third place and further emphasised the improvements he has made in the last few seasons."

Administration checks and scrutineering for this year’s Baja Spain Aragón take place on Thursday (July 23rd) and Friday (July 24th) before the competitive action gets underway with leg one and a timed super special stage from 5.07pm on Friday afternoon.

The rally headquarters is based at the new Motorland Aragón motor sport complex in the outskirts of the town of Alcaniz. The off-road competition will take place in the area between Zaragoza, Huesca and Tervel on Saturday and Sunday. Leg two starts at 7.30am and runs through to 3.40pm, while the third and final leg begins at the earlier time of 6.15am and finishes just after 1pm. The televised podium finish is scheduled for 2pm on Sunday afternoon.

Top 10 starters at Baja Spain Aragon

01) Boris Gadasin (RUS)/ Vladimir Demyanenko (RUS) Proto G-Force
02) Tonni van Deijne (NL)/Wouter Rosegaar (NL) Mitsubishi Pajero
03) Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Tina Thoerner (S) BMW X3 CC
04) Joan Roma (E)/Michel Périn (F) BMW X3 CC
05) Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) BMW X3 CC
06) Filipe Campos (P)/Jaime Baptista (P) BMW X3 CC
07) Artem Varentsov (RUS)/Roman Yelagim (RUS) Toyota Land Cruiser
08) Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/TBA Schlesser-Buggy
09) Rui Sousa (P)/Carlos Silva (P) Isuzu D-Max
10) Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (B) Nissan Navara

2009/07/17 | 14:15 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Neil Perkins

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