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

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

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  • 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

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