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Baja TT MONTES ALENTEJANOS |ESC ONLINE marks the beginning of the competition
João Ferreira, National Champion in title, will not be present in Beja
Armindo Araújo, National Rally Champion, joins the CPTT's entourage in 2023
The Best Cross-Country Championship in the World is back. On the next February 24th, 25th and 26th the city of Beja will host the delegation from the Campeonato de Portugal de Todo-o-Terreno|AM48 for the inaugural round of the competition. The Baja TT MONTES ALENTEJANOS | ESC ONLINE will mark the beginning of a season consisting of seven races and that will see the arrival of the latest generation of vehicles, the T1+, to the National Championship. There will be 61 teams participating in the first race of the season, in a fight for victory that will be fought to the second, with the previous generation cars (T1) being naturally able to surprise, as a result of the experience accumulated so far by drivers who have not yet upgraded.
The event's organization is confident that this will be the kick-off for a successful CPTT season in 2023. The number of entries reflects the increasing popularity of the sport and the riders look forward to the season with great ambition. João Ferreira, Absolute National Champion, will not be present in this first round of the season due to his full time participation in the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC). The absence of the driver from Leiria, who won six of the seven races in 2022, leaves room for new fights, and João Ramos, one of the drivers who will be present at the wheel of a Toyota Hilux T1+ admits that: "As everything will be new to me, including the navigator [Pedro Ré], I feel I will have to be very careful, as I will need time and kilometers to understand everything... I made a great effort to run this race, otherwise my championship would be more compromised. Any score will be good if I finish in the front, but I have no idea if I will get it. As for the rest of the season, of course my goal is to fight for the main title. Once again, we are going to have a great championship, with high level teams and a lot of competitiveness, but many T1+ have not arrived yet. I believe that in the second race, Baja Extremadura, we'll all be at full strength" explained one of the most charismatic pilots of the Portuguese Championship.
But it's not only the T1+ and T1 categories that are full of top vehicles and competent drivers, as is the case of Tiago Reis, Bruno Oliveira, Nuno Madeira or Lino Carapeta. The T3, T2, and T8 categories received several new names that will help promote the sport, especially Armindo Araújo, 2022 Portuguese Rally Champion, who is now competing full-time cross-country, behind the wheel of a Can-Am in the T3 category. "Since practically everything is a great novelty for me, and because I don't know anything about the races and my opponents, I'm going to this Baja dos Montes Alentejanos without any goal in terms of classification. It's important this year that we assimilate the maximum knowledge of the races and the car, and so that's our main focus. Of course, as we always do in every race we participate, we will try to drive as fast as possible, but without thinking about the final result", explained the six-time National Rally Champion, who will have as team mate the National Champion of the T3 category, João Dias, and opponents like Pedro Carvalho, Alexandre Pinto or Luis Portela de Morais. In the T2 class, the highlight is the return to competition of the former Champion, Rui Sousa, in his mythical Isuzo DMax.
The enthusiasm for the beginning of the cross-country season is shared by the President of the Portuguese Car and Karting Federation, Ni Amorim: "We are very excited with the start of the 2023 season of the AM|48 Cross-Country Portuguese Championship. We have one of the best championships in the world in Portugal, but this year we are once again taking a step forward in terms of competitiveness with the presence of the new T1 machines. Unfortunately not all of them arrived in time for this first race, but they will certainly be there for the second one. We will certainly have the largest entry list of the last years. Allied to this, we have more and more young pilots who see off-road as a sport for the future. And this is very interesting. This first race will be the 'appetizer' for what we will have for the rest of the year: a lot of competitiveness, an enviable parking lot and new drivers to stand out race after race".
In terms of sports, the first round of the CPTT will start on Friday with the dispute of a prologue with 5.56 km of qualifying, which is scheduled for 4:30 pm and will be broadcast live on the social networks of the Portuguese Car and Karting Federation. On Saturday there will be a Selective Sector with 154,83 kms and on Sunday the pilots will follow the same course, with a total of 315,45 km of qualifying distance. Baja TT Montes Alentejanos will have again the Fair and Exhibition Park of Beja as the headquarters of the race organized by CPKA - Club for the Promotion of Karting and Automobilism.
Automatic translation from the Portuguese version available on www.todoterreno.pt
Photo: Rally-Raid Network / ImagensDesportivas