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Another fresh challenge awaits the contenders in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas as the HunGarian Baja (09-11 August) moves to Várpalota this year, presenting the crews with new stages on military land and in the picturesque forests of Bakonyerdő. Running for the 16th year and for the ninth time in the World Cup, the fifth round of the series will provide a mix of conditions in the heart of central Europe as the battle for this year’s title begins to hot up.

Championship leaders Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov once again head the entry list and the Russians need a top result to maintain their advantage over a charging Orlando Terranova. Vasilyev has a slim four-point lead going into the event and is still hunting down his first victory of the season in the Toyota Hilux Overdrive. Terranova and co-driver and Ronnie Graue powered into the series on the third round in Italy, winning that event and then claiming a back-to-back victory on the following round in Spain. The Argentineans, driving a Mini John Cooper Works Rally, have their sights set on a bid for the title and will doubtless be gunning for a Baja hat-trick of wins in Hungary.

Jakub Przygonski and Timo Gottschalk, third in the Championship, are 14 points further adrift of Terranova with everything to play for in the longest-ever HunGarian Baja. The Pole has claimed one victory this season, in Dubai, and has been on the HunGarian Baja podium for the last two years; he needs another good result to close the gap on the frontrunners before the series moves to his home round next. Martin Prokop and Jan Tománek also remain in the fight, the Czech crew just two points further behind in their Ford Raptor. Fellow compatriots Miroslav Zapletal and Marek Sykora will be chasing a top result on an event that must be one of Zapletal’s most successful. The F150 Evo driver took the win in 2007 and has been on the podium on seven other occasions. Bernhard Ten Brinke and Tom Colsoul start their second Baja of the season and will be hoping for better luck after retiring their Toyota Hilux Overdrive on the final day of Baja Aragón.

Michele Cinotto, co-driven by Maurizio Dominella, makes his fifth outing of the season and leads the fiercely competitive T3 category. The Polaris driver heads Santiago Navarro by just four points in the standings, the Spaniard riding high after winning his home Baja last month. Russia’s Fedor Vorobyev is just one point further adrift in similar Can-Am Maverick machinery. Qatar’s Adel Abdulla is fourth and, like his three greatest rivals, has claimed one of the category victories so far this season. Just two crews have entered in T2, category leader Aldis Vilcans and Romania’s Claudiu Barbu.

PROVISIONAL RALLY DATA

Total distance   

793.92 km

Selective section distance:

588.26 km

Number of selective sections:

5

HUNGARIAN BAJA – TIMETABLE & MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

Thursday 8 August

Scrutineering

From 10:00 hrs

Friday 9 August

Shakedown

09:00-13:00 hrs

Pre-event Press Conference, Thury Castle

15:15 hrs

Start Ceremony, Thury Castle

16:45 hrs

SSS1 (7.18 kilometres)

17:00 hrs

Leg 2 starting position selection, Thury Castle

19:30 hrs

Saturday 10 August

SS2 (208.06 kilometres)

08:00 hrs

First car arrives service/regroup

11:50 hrs

SS3 (208.06 kilometres)

14:00 hrs

First car arrives for final service

17:50 hrs

Sunday 11 August

SS4 (82.48 kilometres)

09:00 hrs

First car arrives service/regroup

10:05 hrs

SS5 (82.48 kilometres)

12:40 hrs

Prize-Giving ceremony, Várpolata Főtér 

17:00 hrs

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