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Baja Aragon 2023: South Racing Can-Am Team's De Sousa Batista takes outright FIA T4 World Cup lead with victory at Baja Spain Aragón

  • Portugal’s João Monteiro seals podium finish in FIA T3 category
  • South Racing’s T3 FIA World Cup title challengers Alvarez and Akeel finish fifth and 12th
  • Third place in T4 category for Spaniard Edouard Pons

The South Racing Can-Am Team’s Cristiano de Sousa Batista and Portuguese co-driver Fausto Moto dominated the FIA T4 category at the two-day Baja Spain Aragón and the Brazilian now holds an outright lead in his class after the fourth round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas. He won the Prologue and two of the stages on his way to victory by the margin of 6min 32.3sec.

Edouard Pons and Jaume Betriu teamed up to crew the second of the South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RRs in T4 and finished third overall.

Belgian racer Guillaume de Mevius won the FIA T3 category on this occasion but the South Racing Cam-Am Team earned a podium finish with the Portuguese pairing of João Monteiro and Nuno Morais finishing third overall.

Defending FIA T3 World Cup Bajas champion Fernando Alvarez teamed up with French co-driver Xavier Panseri in his Conarpesa-backed Can-Am and collected valuable championship points for fifth place. Dutchman Erik van Loon was partnered by Hein Verschuuren on this occasion and reached the finish in seventh.

Alvarez said: “We did a good job. For the championship it was very good also because all the people who were in front of us were behind us in the race. That makes it very close. It is easy to lose many positions here but I am happy to finish fifth.”

Dania Akeel and Germany’s Taye Perry climbed through the field as the event progressed, despite a puncture and dust issues from following slower cars to finish 12th after clocking the 10th quickest time on the last stage.

Otavio Sousa tackled the event for the first time with regular Portuguese co-driver João Ferreira but failed to start the final day after technical issues on Friday. The T3 championship leader had finished fourth on the opening Prologue stage.

South Racing Can-Am Team’s managing director Scott Abraham said: “Baja Spain is always a challenging event for man and machine with high temperatures and very technical stages. It was a bumper entry this year in both T3 and T4. It was a great race for Cristiano Batista, winning the T4 category and consolidating his lead in the FIA Baja World Cup. It was also a strong run to third for Edouard Pons, who was using the event as preparation for Desafio Ruta 40.

“On the T3 side, João Monteiro had a great race on his debut and finished third overall and it was a good result for Fernando Alvarez in fifth, earning valuable World Championship points. Erik van Loon and Dania Akeel also had solid races in their Can-Ams. Now we have a small break before heading off to Baja Poland to continue our hunt for the titles in the FIA Baja World Cup.”

joao monteiro 23 7 w

Because of the Spanish elections taking place on Sunday, the route for the 2023 Baja was compressed into two days with action getting underway with a Prologue stage of 5.83km on Friday morning.

De Mévius was the man to beat in the 31-strong T3 category for lightweight prototype vehicles and he edged into a 3.7-second advantage over João Monteiro in his South Racing-built Can-Am. Otavio Sousa came home in fourth, Alvarez was 14th, Akeel was 22nd and Van Loon was 28th.

In T4, De Sousa Batista continued his remarkable run of form to set the fastest time in his South Racing Can-Am with Eduard Pons coming home in fourth place behind Navarro and Warnia.

The first of the selective sections ran in punishing heat for 179.84km between Bañón and Cuevas Labradas on Friday afternoon. De Mévius extended his lead over João Dias to 28.4 seconds, with Monteiro coming home in fourth to maintain third overall. South Racing’s Alvarez, van Loon, Akeel and Sousa were sixth, 12th, 20th and 28th overall.

In T4, De Sousa Batista extended his lead over FIA World Cup rival Warnia to 4min 18.3sec with the fastest time. Pons finished fifth and held a similar position in the class rankings.

Action concluded with two selective sections on Saturday, starting with a 155.47km run between Bañón and Celadas. The championship-leading Sousa failed to start a stage where De Mévius again finished ahead of Dias to move into a lead of 2min 11.4sec. Monteiro, Alvarez and Van Loon finished the stage in third, sixth and eighth overall and Akeel climbed to 13th.

De Sousa Batista extended his overall lead in T4 with Pons setting the second quickest time and holding third place.

Held in the punishing heat of a Spanish summer afternoon, the final stage ran for 171.36km between Monreal and Gea. De Sousa Batista ceded the stage win to Spanish rival Pau Navarro but confirmed victory in T4, while Monteiro wrapped up a T3 podium and Alvarez moved up to fifth.

The South Racing Can-Am Team receives valuable support for the race programme from Method Wheels, Tensor Tires, Motul, Jjuan Brake Systems and Sparco.

The next round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas takes place in Poland on August 24th-27th.

Baja Spain Aragón – FIA T3 standings:
1. Guillaume de Mévius (BEL)/François Cazalet (FRA) G Rally Team OT3 6hr 39min 30.9sec
2. João Dias (PRT)/Pedro Ré (PRT) Can-Am Maverick X3 hr 43min 39.7sec
3. João Monteiro (PRT)/Nuno Viegas Morais (PRT) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 6hr 52min 18.3sec
4. Armindo Araújo (PRT)/Luis Ramalho (PRT) Can-Am Maverick X3 7min 17.1sec
5. Fernando Alvarez (ESP)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 6hr 58min 26.5sec

Baja Spain Aragón – FIA T4 standings:
1. Cristiano Batista (BRA)/Fausto Mota (PRT) South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR 7hr 02min 08.5sec
2. Pau Navarro (ESP)/Gonçalo Reis (PRT) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR 7hr 08min 40.8sec
3. Eduardo Pons (ESP)/Jaume Betriu (ESP) South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR 7hr 13min 58.5sec
4. Ricardo Ramilo Suarez (ESP)/Bruno Jacomy (ARG) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR 7hr 17min 26.1sec
5. Stefano Marrini (ITA)/Silvio Valentini (ITA) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR 7hr 48min 21.7sec, etc

Source South Racing

Baja Aragon 2023: Isidre Esteve rounded up a great performance in the Baja Aragón

  • Repsol Toyota Rally Team closes the classic turolense of the rally raid in the 16th absolute position (14th in the T1 category).
  • Oliana’s driver is very satisfied with the performance of the Toyota Hilux T1+ and with his own driving towards the goal of the Dakar 2024.
  • “It’s the rally in which we’ve been the most competitive, we have made the best partals, and we have printed a stronger pace on the track.”
  • “In this race, there were 24 Dakar frontline drivers. Being here and at this level is the most important thing.”

Immeasurable balance for Isidre Esteve and his co-pilot Txema Villalobos at the end of the Baja Spain Aragon, his first competition of the season to prepare for the Dakar 2024. Repsol Toyota Rally Team drivers have finished the classic turolense of the rally raid in the 16th absolute position, 14th in the T1 category. At the wheel of the Toyota Hilux T1+ number 215, they showed a fast and regular pace, completing the 512 kilometers timed (distributed in a prologue and three specials) in 6 hours, 47 minutes and 14.9 seconds, just over 28 minutes from the winner.

The second and final stage of the race, which could be scored for the FIA World Cup in Cross Country Bays, consisted of two long special races, of 156 and 171 km, respectively, with an assist zone between both. From the 16th position of the general in which he finished the stage on Friday – although today it was 13th for the penalties to other rivals –, Esteve has been able to deploy all his piloting without suffering both with dust and the eve, as he started in the head group and benefited from three minutes of separation between the cars on the track, instead of one as on Friday.

The words of Isidre, at the end of a race he has played 21 times (the last nine, on four wheels), graphically illustrate the value of this result for the Repsol Toyota Rally Team, in view of the goal of the Dakar 2024: “We are happy with the final result of the race, with the sensations, with speed on the track. We are pleased with this low. In this race there were up to 24 Dakar frontline drivers, almost no one was missing, and being always among them is good. For me, that’s the most important thing: to be here and to be at this level, and to have these feelings.”

In addition to the piloting, Oliana’s also ended up very satisfied with the performance of the Toyota Hilux T1+, which drives with the commands adapted to the steering wheel and serves as a test bench for Repsol’s lubricants and biofuel. “The Baja Aragón is a very stressful race for mechanics. We’ve changed a lot of things in the car and have tried it here, in these conditions, and that everything works, is the most important thing. It means that you have confidence in the car; that the copywriter, Txema, does his job well with the instructions, and, in short, that the whole team does a good job,” he said.

Thanks to the support of Repsol, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Spain, MGS Seguros and KH-7, the Catalan driver insists: “It is the rally in which we have been most competitive, that we have made the best partials, and that we’ve printed a stronger pace on the track, but with security.”

With 74 cars classified at the end of the test, Esteve gives much importance to the partial times in the trams, which have given good evidence of their competitiveness. In the first special this Saturday, he has given up just 10 minutes to the leader after almost two hours of race; in the second, the longer, they have been just over 8 minutes, after two and a half hours. He could even finish higher (and get into the top 15 of the general) if he hadn’t lost some valuable minutes towards the end of each special, to let pass (as the regulation requires) a couple of slightly faster drivers, who started behind him.

The next race of the Repsol Toyota Rally Team will be the Rally of Morocco, puntuable for the FIA Cross Country World Championship. From October 12 to 18, the African rally raid will be Isidre Esteve’s last competitive test before the Dakar 2024.

Automatic translation from the original Spanish version sent to us by:
Source: Repsol Toyota Rally Team official press release
You can find the original Spanish version published on www.todoterreno.pt

Baja Aragon 2023: Bike and Quad wins for Tosha Schareina and Juraj Varga

After 513km of special stages that were held in scorching heat over two days on the rural tracks of Aragón, Tosha Schareina (Honda) once again won ahead of his compatriot Lorenzo Santolino and third-placed Rui Gonçalves, both of whom were riding Shercos.

In the quad category, Juraj Varga was the fastest and stole victory from Kevin Giroud when his rival lost around eight minutes on the final stage.

Normally, Baja Spain Aragón takes place over three days but general elections being organised in Spain on Sunday forced officials to compress the course into Friday and Saturday.

The Prologue, therefore, began the festivities at dawn on Friday but, despite this very early hour for the Iberians (06.00hrs), the public attended in numbers. Encouraged by the support of spectators and knowing the format of the Baja, which is run on very dry ground, Tosha Schareina won the opening six-kilometre Prologue and that enabled him to have an open and dust-free track to start the first special.

juraj 22 7 w

For his part, in SS1, Lorenzo Santolino was in good form and led until the service. But the Sherco rider struggled to find the traction necessary to maintain his position.

After the opening day’s 180km of competition, the motorcycle tyres were destroyed and this persuaded members of the FIM jury to exceptionally grant riders authorisation to change tyres between the two selective sections on Saturday.

Schareina continued his progress towards victory and he edged Santolino by 10 minutes, while Gonçalves finished third – a repeat of last year’s podium with the exception that the winner rode a KTM 450 to success in 2022. Neels Theric finished fourth followed by David Megre, who took a five-penalty for losing his time card. Spain was not a successful hunting ground for pre-event championship leader Mohammed Al-Balooshi, who prefers the desert and found himself in 10th place.

In quads, Juraj Varga finished in front of first Junior Kevin Giroud and leading Veteran Toni Vingut. On the Women's side, Sara Garcia claimed the laurels ahead of Alona Ben-Natan and Sarah Khuraibet, who received a hefty 42-minute penalty.


Source: FIM
Photos: RallyZone

Baja Aragon 2023: Schareina secures another victory in bike category

In the 39th edition of the Baja España Aragón, Tosha Schareina has clinched the victory in the bike category, repeating his victory last year.

The Honda rider led the race from the beginning to the end, clocking the fastest times in all the special stages. The rider from Valencia finished 9’09” ahead of Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco), who struggled to match Schareina’s pace and had to settle for second place. Portuguese rider Rui Gonçalves rounded out the podium with a 15’21” gap.

Tosha Schareina: “I felt very comfortable during the whole day and I was able to grow the gap little by little. On SS2, we suffered a lot because the track was very broken after the cars and trucks but we are here, we won for the second time and I’m very happy.”

In the quad category, Juraj Varga secured his first victory in the Baja España Aragón after Kevin Giroud’s chances of winning evaporated in the final special stage. Giroud injured his right arm and experienced brake issues, costing him more than seven minutes. This resulted in him being relegated to the second position in the overall rankings. Toni Vingut completed the podium in the category.

As for the other classifications, Sara García won in the women’s category, Joan Pedrero triumphed in the Maxi Trail category, and Brian Gómez came out on top in the Trail category.

Source Baja Aragon

Baja Aragon 2023: BP Ultimate Adventure Team in highlight in Baja Aragón

David Megre finishes second in FIM World Cup

The pilots of the BP Ultimate Adventure Team today successfully completed their participation in the Baja España Aragón, a pointable competition for the FIA Cross Country World Cup and FIM Bajas World Cup, and where the team performed with David Megre in the Moto competition and Miguel Barbosa in the auto competition. In the overall balance sheet of this participation is highlighted by the fact that David Megre has risen to the 2nd place of the World Cup from Bajas, who already led the European Championship.

On the second day of the race of the 39th edition of the Baja España Aragón, two selective sections of 155 and 170 kilometers were played. For David Megre, “The day went well and we continued the good performance we had achieved yesterday. We have always run at a good pace in a very tough technical race, where I must confess that I have faced the toughest 50 km of competition in more than 20 years of my career. The beginning of the last selective sector in the mountains and after a double passage of more than a hundred cars and trucks was a true martyrdom. The result, on the other hand, is so positive that it puts us at 2nd place in the World Cup. I can only be very satisfied,” said the Kawasaki rider.

Less fortunate was Miguel Barbosa, who debuted in this famous Spanish race and for whom “the unhappiness of the first day had a repercussion on the whole day of today since, starting from a position that does not correspond to our speed, we were forced to make numerous overtaking manouvers where we lost immense time. Just to give an example, in the second section we caught the competitor who left a minute before us at km 9 and only at km 70 he let us the pass. Despite this, I found the race fantastic and we had the opportunity to evolve to the wheel of our new Toyota T1+ which is a fantastic car,” said the driver who was navigated by Hugo Magalhães.

Automatic translation from the original Portuguese version sent to us by:
Source BP Ultimate Adventure Team
You can find the original Portuguese version on www.todoterreno.pt

As a service to the sport we all love and follow, Rally-Raid Network posts numerous media releases from a wide variety of sources on our website. Due to the large number, and some times short time available, it is nearly impossible to review each public release. These articles are written by reporters or press officers who work for various organizers, teams, drivers, riders, and other parties, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Rally-Raid Network.