Saudi Baja 2024: Technical problems prevent a good performance by Eduard Pons in the Saudi Baja
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Saudi Baja 2024: Technical problems prevent a good performance by Eduard Pons in the Saudi Baja

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  • A turbo problem leaves the Pons Rallysport team out of the race at the beginning of the second and last stage of the inaugural round of the FIA Baja World Cup.
  • The duo from Lleida, who also failed to complete the first day due to mechanical failures, showed glimpses of their potential by qualifying third in the Challenger and tenth overall in the prologue at the controls of a Taurus T3 Max.
  • "At kilometer 20 of the special stage we saw that the panel indicated that there was too much pressure in the turbo, so we decided to stop to avoid major problems."
  • "The minimum conclusions we can draw are that the car has possibilities, but different factors have been added, such as a faulty engine and multiple mechanical problems, which have prevented us from taking advantage of it."

Eduard Pons and Jaume Betriu have not been lucky in a long-suffering Saudi Baja -contested in Ha'il (Saudi Arabia) and scoring for the FIA Baja World Cup- in which technical problems have been the protagonists and have not allowed to bring out the potential of both the vehicle and its crew. In the second and last stage, a new setback in the mechanics of the Taurus T3 Max has left the team from Lleida out of the race shortly after the start of the day.

The event started on Thursday with a shakedown in which the car suffered an outbreak of fire due to engine failure due to a factory defect, so the Lleida duo had to start the prologue stage without having done any kind of test and with the car assembled from scratch against the clock. During this short special, of barely 6 kilometers, the Pons Rallysport team showed flashes of what they could do at the wheel of the side-by-side. It achieved the third position in the Challenger category (T3) and the tenth absolute, in addition to being the first among the participants registered in the World Cup, and reported a very good sensation.

However, Pons and Betriu could only ride 5 kilometers in the first stage due to the breakage of two screws of the fuel pump and could not take advantage of the opportunity they had to open track. In the second stage, held this Saturday, technical problems made their presence felt again. "At kilometer 20 of the special stage we saw that the panel indicated that there was too much pressure in the turbo, so we decided to stop to avoid major problems. As soon as we arrived at the bivouac we saw that this overpressure was due to a leak in the intercooler," Pons explained.

The Pons Rallysport team regretted not having been able to fulfill its initial objective, which was to accumulate kilometers in preparation for the next edition of the Dakar Rally. "The race is over and we have practically not been able to drive. The minimum conclusions we can draw are that the car has possibilities, but it is still a prototype that, although it went very well during the Dakar, needs a lot of maintenance. In Ha'il there were several factors such as the bad luck of starting with a faulty engine and multiple mechanical problems, but the reality is that we are leaving without having any idea of the real capabilities of the Taurus", says the driver.

"We didn't have the desired weekend to enjoy and test the car, but I think it has a very big potential. If reliability had been with us, we could have achieved a good result", adds Betriu.

A season with an eye on the Dakar 2025
After competing in the Baja Saudi with a Taurus, the duo from Lleida will do three events under the Past-Racing structure of Daniel Alonso, all of them aboard a Ford Ranger T1+. The first one will be the BP Ultimate Rally-raid Transiberico of the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship and the other two will be of the FIA European Cup of Lowland: the Baja TT Dehesa Extremadura and the Baja Italia.

In addition, due to the few kilometers he has been able to do in Saudi Arabia with the Taurus, the team will evaluate different alternatives, among which there is the option of running the Baja Greece, of the World Cup. "From here, we will decide on the vehicle with which we will compete in the Dakar 2025, based on performance, equipment and budget," says Pons.

 

 

Automatic translation of the Spanish version
Source: Pons Rallysport

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