Cross Country – Poles set the pace in Poland

cross-country-–-poles-set-the-pace-in-poland

Krzysztof Hołowczyc and Łukasz Kurzeja powered to victory on their home round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas, the Mini John Cooper Works Rally crew claiming a six minute and 52 second winning margin on ORLEN Baja Poland. Fellow compatriot Jakub Przygoński, co-driven by Timo Gottschalk, also upheld national honours by claiming second while Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov took the final podium position in a Toyota Hilux Overdrive.

The sixth round of the series was held in Poland’s Szczecin, Drawsko Pomorskie and Dobra municipalities and kicked off on Friday with a short 7.08 kilometre stage in the northern part of Szczecin. Przygoński set the pace on this opener before the crews headed into the longest and most grueling day of the event that covered two runs over a 220 kilometre section on the military ranges of Drawsko Pomorskie.

This is where Hołowczyc’s fight for a sixth Baja Poland really kicked into gear and the former FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies Champion won both stages. Overnight, the Pole was over six minutes ahead of rival Przygoński, who could have closed the gap but for a transmission problem that left him without third gear. Going into the final day of shorter stages closer to the city of Szczecin on Sunday, Hołowczyc won three of the four sections with Przygoński claiming one win. But, the advantage Hołowczyc had pulled out on Saturday remained as a measured drive without risk today saw him claim his sixth Baja Poland victory.

Reigning World Cup Champion Przygoński struggled to regain the time lost with the gearbox problem on Saturday, such was the high level of competition. But two stage wins throughout the event rewarded last year’s event winner with second overall and crucial points in the fight for a second title with just two rounds remaining.

Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov and once again finished on the podium, the Russians third in the Toyota and equaling their 2018 result. Crucially however, the Russians regain their lead in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas standings, taking a six-point advantage over Orlando Terranova and Ronnie Graue who were forced out of the event with technical issues after taking wins on the three previous events.

Miroslav Zapletal, co-driven by Marek Sykora, fought hard and claimed fourth overall after finishing on the Baja Poland podium three times previously. The Czech Ford F150 Evo driver was fifth after the first section on Saturday but overhauled Michal Małuszyński and Julita Małuszyńska on the second running of the long stage to take fourth overall, the position they maintained to the finish on Sunday despite a close battle with the Polish Mini crew.

Włodzimierz Grajek and Piotr Brakowiecki rounded out the top six in their BMW X5 with Fedor Vorobyev and Kirill Shubin finishing seventh and taking the T3 win. The fight in this category was intense between the Russians and Spain’s Santiago Navarro/Marc Solà. The Can-Am Maverick rivals were neck and neck throughout, sharing the stage wins, with Navarro ahead until SS5 when he was forced to retire with damaged suspension. Runaway T2 series leader Aldis Vilcãns, co-driven by Daira Vilcãne finished eighth and won the category in his Toyota Landcruiser. He won each of the stages to extend his advantage in the T2 Trophy.

The seventh and penultimate round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas takes the crews to the Middle East for the Jordan Baja (19-21 September).

Baja Poland – Final Classification

1

Krzysztof Hołowczyc/Łukasz Kurzeja

Mini John Cooper Works Rally

5hr 35min 52sec

2

Jakub Przygoński/Timo Gottschalk

Mini John Cooper Works Rally

5hr 42min 45sec

3

Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov

Toyota Hilux

5hr 56min 29sec

4

Miroslav Zapletal/Marek Sykora

F150 Evo

6hr 01min 04sec

5

Michal Małuszyński/Julita Małuszyńska

Mini John Cooper Works Rally

6hr 01min 53sec

6

Włodzimierz Grajek/Piotr Brakowiecki

BMW X5

6hr 32min 51sec

7

Fedor Vorobyev/Kirill Shubin

Can-Am Maverick X3

6hr 52min 38sec

8

Aldis Vilcãns/Daira Vilcãne

Toyota Landcruiser VDJ200

7hr 50min 48sec

9

Michele Cinotto/Maurizio Dominella

Polaris RZR 1000 Turbo

17hr 02min 54sec

10

Eric Abel/Christian Manez

Polaris RZR 1000 Turbo

17hr 27min 25sec

Photo: MCH

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *