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Baja Aragon 2023: With “fantastic result”, Moraes/Bentivoglio confirm status of top driver in Spain

Runners-up in the Baja Aragón on Saturday, Brazilians set podiums in all international races

“What a fantastic result. It’s great to be able to compete for a professional team like this. It’s a big day for us.” With these words, Brazilian driver Lucas Moraes defined his participation, along with navigator Kaíque Bentivoglio, in the traditional Baja España Aragón Rally, valid for the fourth stage of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Championship, which brings together the main beasts of the sport. After winning the race in the stage held yesterday, on Saturday, the Belgian team duo Overdrive took their Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+ to second place, reversing the positions with the duo formed by the fifth Dakar champion, Nasser Al-Attiyah, and the Frenchman Mathieu Baumel – who also drove a Toyota Gr DKR. In the sum of the times of the two days, Al-Attiyah and Baumel won the overall classification of Baja Aragón, with the time of 6h18min37s2 to a total of 512,3km. The French-Saudi duo also won the last two editions of the Dakar.

One of the most traditional races in the world, the Baja España Aragón completed its 39th edition on Saturday. Much of the participants, such as Lucas and Kaíque, competed in the race aimed at preparing their teams for the next edition of the Dakar Rally. Therefore, the success of this confrontation is seen as a kind of “quality seal” on the international stage. In fact, since their debut in international competitions in 2022, the Brazilians have recorded four podiums: three third places and the second obtained on Saturday.

“Our victory in the special yesterday was something to mark the career. With so many Dakar winners present, like Nasser, Stéphane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz and Nani Roma, we have to get into the fight knowing we are on the side of giants. When we met them here in Spain, Kaïque and I joked that we don’t know if they greeted or asked for an autograph,” amused Lucas Moraes, who, among his recent achievements, also has the bicampionate in the Sertões Rally (along with Bentivoglio) and the third unprecedented place for a Brazilian in the ranking of the last Dakar Rallye (with German navigator Timo Gottschalk, who this Saturday finished ninth alongside the Saudi driver Yazeed Al Rajhi).

European curiosity – The next challenge of the Brazilians will be precisely the Rally dos Sertões, played between 11 and 19 August, the test of which are the current champions. “Sertões is a race that I have been following closely since childhood – it’s a personal passion. It is also the biggest race in Brazil, America, an incredible challenge. Here in Europe everyone asks about it,” says Moraes who, alongside Bentivoglio, has the support of Red Bull, Toyota Gazoo Racing, SpeedMax, Strava and Zapalla in his 2023 campaign.

“I and Kaik have always spent the greatest suffocation in the Sertões – every day leads you to exhaustion at some point, but it also teaches you a lot. So the fact that we are here today on the podium of the Baja Aragón is the result of what we have learned in Brazil. There are a lot of people in Brazil who can come here and make great results,” encourages the vice champion of the 39th edition of Baja España Aragón.


Automatic translation from the original Brazilian Portuguese version sent to us by:
Source: Lucas Moraes official press release / Best PR
Portuguese version available on www.todoterreno.pt


Baja Aragon 2023: Good test for Team Audi Sport in Baja Aragon

Quotes from Team Audi Sport after the Baja España Aragón

  • Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz finish home race
  • Rolf Michl: “Learned a lot – an appealing performance by Carlos”

Team Audi Sport contested the Baja España Aragón around Teruel in eastern Spain for the first time. The competition, in which Audi competed outside the classification, together with a previous test marked the start of the squad’s six-month preparation for the 2024 Dakar Rally. While Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz finished in the Audi RS Q e-tron, Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist retired after a water crossing caused damage to the power steering pump. In the case of Stéphane Peterhansel/Edouard Boulanger, a faulty sensor with consequences for the electric drive ended the race prematurely.

Rolf Michl (Head of Audi Motorsport): “The Baja España Aragón was the first test under race conditions since the Dakar Rally in January. We knew why we chose these conditions here in Spain. We learned a lot about our new set-up. Unfortunately, both Stéphane’s and Mattias’ cars retired in the competition for technical reasons. We’re now investigating the causes in detail. But Carlos and Lucas finished the race with an appealing performance. For us this was a first important step towards the Dakar 2024.”

Sven Quandt (Team principal Q Motorsport): “Our learning curve was valuable. And it was the first joint start of a team, as we have now partly reorganized it. The Baja was interesting, even if we had hoped for a different result. We learned a lot in just two days. Finally we were back in competition mode and experienced the competition. We managed to take a step forward with the suspension, which was important. There’s still work ahead of us, but the direction is right. The defects on the other two cars are not so nice, but they are also part of our learning curve. Next up is the Morocco Rally, where we already want to compete with the configuration for the Dakar Rally.”

Carlos Sainz: “The first stage today took place on yesterday’s track, but it now contained a clean line with fewer boulders. That’s why the times turned out much better after it was difficult to open the track on the first day. On the final stage, we were again the first car to open the track, which was again very challenging. For the whole team, the rally was productive. Now we have to check various small things. Our team has now contested its first Baja. The main goal was to learn a lot.”

Lucas Cruz: “That was not an easy rally for us. As the first on the track, we actually had to sweep away the stones. We suffered two punctures in the process. However, the regulations do not allow competitors to use additional tires for the rest of the rally. Overall, we learned a lot in the two weeks in Spain, especially during the test. For the Baja we had to change the set-up of the car a bit compared to a desert rally. These tracks are not so typical of what we can expect at the Dakar Rally. But we’re learning with every kilometer.”

Source: Team Audi Sport
Photo: Audi Communications Motorsport / Paulo Maria, DPPI

Baja Aragon 2023: Al-Attiyah holds of Moraes to seal a 1-2 finish for Toyota and Overdrive Racing at Baja Spain Aragón

  • Al-Rajhi and Overdrive debutant Baciuška finish eighth and ninth
  • Six Overdrive-supported Toyota Hiluxes inside the overall top 10

Overdrive Racing and Toyota Gazoo Racing enjoyed spectacular success at Baja Spain Aragón with Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Andorra-based co-driver Mathieu Baumel winning the fourth round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas outright, the Brazilian duo of Lucas Moraes and Kaique Bentivoglio finishing second and six Overdrive-supported Toyotas finishing inside the top 10.

Moraes had been the revelation of his first Dakar back in January with a podium finish and the young Brazilian pushed Al-Attiyah all the way, led after the opening day and eventually reached the finish 1min 43.2sec behind the Qatari. Al-Attiyah duly extended his lead in the FIA World Cup with a sixth win in Spain and a fifth with Baumel.

Al-Attiyah said: “This is a fantastic result for myself and Mathieu and it puts us in a really strong position in the FIA World Cup after four rounds with three wins and one second place.”

Moraes said: “I cannot thank this team enough. They delivered an amazing car for the whole race. It was an amazing opportunity for me to drive with this team. Last year we got third, this year we got second behind the GOAT. Maybe next year we can move one step further. Kaique did an amazing job. The pace we kept was unbelievable. We had a blast!”

Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk had won the last round of the FIA World Cup in Italy, but they suffered two time-consuming flat tyres on the first stage and then incurred a three-minute time penalty for an overtaking infringement. From then on, the Saudi was playing catch up and the third quickest time on stages two and three lifted the duo to eighth overall.

Young Lithuanian racer Rokas Baciuška teamed up with Oriol Vidal to make his debut in the T1+ category with Overdrive Racing. Despite incurring an eight-minute time penalty for missing route waypoints, the youngster reached the finish in ninth overall.

Juan Cruz Yacopini and Spanish co-driver Dani Oliveras were chasing points towards the Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ Championships but reached the finish in 13th overall.

Overdrive Racing also entered Toyota Hiluxes for Portuguese driver Francisco Barata Barreto and Spain’s Isidre Esteve Pujol and their respective co-drivers, Carlos Silva and José Valcarcel. They were classified in 10th and 16th overall

Overdrive Racing had run the Portuguese pairing of Tiago Reis and Valter Cardoso to victory at the Baja TT Dehesa Extremadura and offered technical support to the crew in Spain. They were fourth quickest on the final stage and reached the finish in Teruel in fifth place.

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.

After suffering a scare when his Toyota Hilux was damaged in a freak accident by one of the team before the start, Al-Attiyah showed no effects from the incident and carded the second quickest time of the FIA entrants, the Qatari finishing 0.5 seconds behind Prologue winner Vaidotas Zala. Reis came home in third and Al-Rajhi was fifth.

Moraes, Baciuška and Yacopini started cautiously in readiness for the first of the selective sections (179.84km) between Bañón and Cuevas Labradas on Friday afternoon. Moraes belied his lower starting position to carve out the quickest time on the stage to beat Al-Attiyah by 30 seconds on a track where Baciuška finished a fine fourth, Reis was seventh and Barata Barreto stopped the clocks in ninth.

Al-Rajhi was later awarded a three-minute time penalty for an overtaking infringement and slipped down the order, after having stopped to change a tyre and repair damage to the rear of the Toyota on the stage and then being forced to stop and change a second flat tyre later on. He then had to take extra care to reach the finish with no spare tyre available.

In the general classification, Moraes snatched the overall advantage from Al-Attiyah by just 21.2 seconds, Reis was sixth, Barata Barreto climbed to eighth, Baciuška slipped back to 11th - after incurring an eight-minute time penalty for missing several route waypoints - Yacopini and Esteve Pujol were 12th and 13th and Al-Rajhi was 17th.

Moraes said: “It was an amazing day for us to be able to win one stage of the World Championship. We are having fun and enjoying the track but being careful sometimes to avoid the rocks. It’s nice to be back after an amazing Dakar.

Action concluded with two selective sections on Saturday, starting with a 155.47km run between Bañón and Celadas. Al-Attiyah was locked in a fascinating duel with Moraes and emerged with the stage win, the Qatari beating his Toyota rival by 1min 23.9sec to snatch an outright lead of 62.7 seconds to take to the final stage.

Moraes said: “It was the same stage of yesterday. In the beginning I was not feeling that comfortable because the rocks were so much higher on the road after so many cars passed yesterday. I did not push that much and then I got going again and had a clean stage. That was the most important.”

Al-Rajhi bounced back strongly with the third quickest time and Reis and Baciuška were fifth and sixth.

Held in the punishing heat of a Spanish summer afternoon, the final stage ran for 171.36km between Monreal and Gea. Al-Attiyah kept his nerve to beat Moraes by 40.5 seconds to seal outright victory. Al-Rajhi was third quickest and moved ahead of Baciuška to claim eighth place. Six Overdrive Racing-supported cars completed the event inside the top 10.

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

Baja Spain Aragón – result:

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (AND) Toyota GR DKR Hilux 6hr 18min 37.2sec
2. Lucas Moraes (BRA)/Kaique Bentivoglio (BRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 6hr 20min 20.4sec
3. Vaidotas Zala (LTU)/Paulo Fiuza (PRT) Mini JCW Rally Plus 6hr 28min 28.7sec
4. João Ferreira (PRT)/Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) Mini JCW Rally Plus 6hr 29min 45.6sec
5. Tiago Reis (PRT)/Valter Cardoso (PRT) Toyota Hilux 6hr 29min 55.0sec
6. Joan ‘Nani’ Roma (ESP)/Alex Haro (ESP) M-Sport Ford Ranger 6hr 30min 34.0sec
7. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL)/Lukasz Kurzeja (POL) Mini JCW Rally Plus 6hr 32min 06.1sec
8. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 6hr 32min 17.0sec
9. Rokas Baciuška (LTU)/Oriol Vidal (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 6hr 34min 31.5sec
10. Francisco Barata Barreto (PRT)/Carlos Silva (PRT) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 6hr 38min 22.3sec
11. Gareth Woolridge (ZAF)/Boyd Dreyer (ZAF) M-Sport Ford Ranger 6hr 38min 29.7sec
12. Guillaume de Mévius (BEL)/François Cazalet (FRA) G Rally Team OT3 (T3)6hr 39min 30.9sec
13. Juan Cruz Yacopini (ARG)/Daniel Oliveras (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 6hr 39min 56.4sec
16. Isidre Esteve Pujol (ESP)/José Valcarcel (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 6hr 47min 14.9sec
T1+ unless stated

Select other - T1.U class
1. Carlos Sainz (ESP)/Lucas Cruz (ESP) Audi Sport RS Q E-Tron 6hr 27min 54.9sec

Source Overdrive Racing

Baja Aragon 2023: Al-Attiyah secures sixt victory

The 39th edition of the Baja España Aragón has crowned Nasser Al-Attiyah the champion of the car category again, marking his third consecutive win following his 2021 and 2022 victories.

During the second day of competition, Al-Attiyah managed to outperform yesterday’s stage winner, Brazil’s Lucas Moraes, reclaiming the lead in a decisive manner, already in the first special stage on Saturday. The Qatari driver emerged as the day’s fastest and distinguished himself once more in an edition notorious for its toughness. This marks Al-Attiyah’s sixth victory in the Baja España Aragón. He was joined on the podium by Lucas Moraes (Toyota), finishing second at 1’43”, and Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Audi) who finished in a hypothetical third position at 9’17” because Audi competed out of category. The official third place went to Lithuanian driver Vaidotas Zala.

Nasser Al-Attiyah: “I am very happy for this victory, my sixth here in Baja Spain. It’s incredible to have won, it was an edition with record participation, with Audi, Toyota and Ford and with the best drivers in the world. It’s the last Baja race for me with Toyota. I want to thank my team for their work over the last six years and I’m very grateful for everything they have given me.”

Carlos Sainz, making Audi’s debut in this race, was the sole representative of the German team to finish the race. In a commendable performance on the second day of competition, Sainz successfully made up for the more than six-minute gap that distanced him from the podium. Portugal’s Joao Ferreira, who stood third in yesterday’s standings, eventually missed out on a podium finish. Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel had to withdraw from the race at the start of the day due to a power outage caused by a sensor failure. His teammate, Matias Ekström, also dropped out after experiencing a steering pump issue.

In the truck category, Javier Mariezcurrena scored his first-ever Baja España Aragón victory, fending off Martin Macik’s challenge.

In the Spanish Cross-Country Rally Championship, Santiago Carnicer took the top spot, finishing 18’46” ahead of Pau Navarro. The third spot in the provisional overall classification went to Portugal’s Joao Franco.

Source Baja Aragon

Baja Aragon 2023: Laia Sanz in the Baja España Aragon

  • The KH-7 driver has demonstrated great adaptability and has taken the lightweight prototype of the Wevers Sport team to fifth place in the first stage.
  • The Catalan and her co-pilot Maurizio Gerini have fought for the Top 3, but dust problems and a power failure have made them lose a valuable time.
  • “I felt very well. We have to see the positive side; the result is good, but I think it could have been much better. It’s a pity that we slept a pelin in the prologue.”

Laia Sanz has started with good feet her first participation in the Aragon Basse Spain on four wheels. In the competitive T3 category (light prototypes), the KH-7 driver has left evidence of his great pace and finished in a fifth position that he has known little by little, after being fighting until close to the end for a place in the Top 3, which has escaped him for problems with dust.

She summarizes her experience with Catalan: “I felt very well. We have to see the positive side; the result is good, but I think it could have been much better. It is a pity that we fell asleep in the prologue for being too cautious and a little too for lack of adaptation in the car. Then we started pushing and at the beginning of the special we were already much better, until with the dust it has been impossible for us to keep our pace. The positive part is that we have the pace of those ahead and tomorrow, if we don’t have dust, I think we can have a good day.”

The Spanish has started tempting the ground in the 5 km prologue that has served to establish the order of departure, and from which it has been 13th, 17 seconds from the first. Flanked by his Italian co-pilot Maurizio Gerini, she has accused in those initial compasses the lack of shooting with the side-by-side MCE-5 of the Wevers Sport team and the differences between this and the 4x4 electric with which she competes in the Extreme E.

“This car weighs half as much as the Extreme E, and at the beginning of the long special and in the prologue I didn’t calculate the brakes very well. Being such a light car, it allows you to squeeze a lot and brake very late, something I have been adapting with the passing of the kilometers”, recognizes Corbera de Llobregat.

In the special long, 180 kilometers between Bañón and Cuevas Labradas (Teruel), as it has been finding comfortable with the vehicle, it has begun to improve its records and has established partial that allowed it to aspire to a possible podium of stage. But in the final part of the tour, it has been hindered by dust and has lost valuable time, which has been aggravated by the fact of rotating half-stage with 20% less power than normal for a failure. In the end, he was fifth of T3 to 4 minutes and 53 seconds from the leader.

“I am pleased with the pace we have taken. I didn’t expect to fight with the first three, with the amount of dust there was. I think it is very positive, although it is a pity the problem that has taken us some power at the end. Even so, the car has gone very well, we felt super comfortable and with a lot of desire to fight more tomorrow,” he said.

On Saturday, the last two sections of the Aragon 2023, with a total of 327 kilometers timed, will be played.


Automatic translation from the original Spanish version sent to us by:
Source KH-7 Laia Sanz / Mediagé Comunicación 

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.