After a long break, the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup will be continued this weekend with the fourth round on its calendar: The Italian Baja that also will be contested by MINI ALL4 Racing pairings: Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) / Timo Gottschalk (GER) and Bryce Menzies (USA) / Tom Colsoul (BEL). And while the two pairings will battle it out for positions in Italy, Harry Hunt and his MINI ALL4 Racing will be involved in the legendary Festival of Speed in Goodwood.
More than eight weeks ago Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) finished second in Sealine Cross Country Rally but now, in Italy, the team is back to go for it. Currently, the Saudi Arabian driver and his German co-driver hold second position in the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup.
Also back in action will be US-American Bryce Menzies. In the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge he surprised by delivering in really fine style and being extremely fast. In the end, he finished fourth in his first cross country rally. In Italy he will be supported by Belgian co-driver Tom Colsoul.
Other than the long desert rallies, the Bajas are two or three-day events and the special-stage distance amounts to less than 1000 kilometres. And the course of action for the mechanics also is different. In the Bajas, the time the teams may work on the cars is short. Furthermore, only two mechanics and one engineer may work on a car simultaneously. At the end of the day, the cars have to be brought into the Parc Fermé where they have to stay overnight and mustn’t be touched.
And the short events also feature their perils when it comes to the racing: in the Italian Baja you mustn’t make any mistakes as the short special stages don’t offer you any chances of ironing them out. Altogether, the competitors will cover about 560 kilometres, with the special-stage distance amounting to 334 kilometres. The Baja will be started on Friday with a 12-kilometre Super Special. On Saturday, the competitors will have to contest two 85.96-kilometre special stages and on Sunday, the two special stages feature a distance of 75.21 kilometres each. At the end of the three-day event, the winner will be rewarded with 30 World Cup points, the runner-up with 21 points and the third placed pairing with 16.