Baja TT Montes Alentejanos 2021: Tiago Reis wins in Alentejo with is new Toyota Hilux

Baja TT Montes Alentejanos 2021: Tiago Reis wins in Alentejo with is new Toyota Hilux

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The first race of the Portuguese championship resembled a world championship race, with Mini's, Toyotas, and Fords clashing for the victory. Some of these vehicles are the latest evolutions of the manufacturers and represent the best that exists nowadays.

Baja TT Montes Alentejanos was organized by CPKA for the first time in 2020 and was considered one of the best of the championship.  In 2021 the organization was trying to follow the same path, but had to make several changes to the initial project, firstly changing the date due to the pandemic, and secondly having to make changes to the course a few days before the race due to restrictions imposed by the Institute of Nature Conservation.   These last-minute changes forced changes into the roadbook, which was the target of critics from a relatively large number of drivers.

The Portuguese championship is now following a rule similar to the Dakar, where the roadbooks are delivered pre-marked to the co-drivers a few minutes before the start of each leg to improve competitiveness.

After the first day, where the participants had to race a prologue and two stages, Tiago Reis, navigated by Valter Cardoso at the wheel of a new Toyota Hilux, was leading the race, which marks the opening of the Portugal Cross-Country Championship.

The driver from Braga won the prologue and dominated most of the race, but in the last SS of the day lost some time for Helder Oliveira, who was always fighting for the front positions and was the fastest in this SS3.

Despite being at the front of the race, Tiago Reis' day was marked by a less positive situation:

"The day was good, but we are very sad about this last sector. The roadbook is not well marked. What saddens me the most, after so many years in the TT, was to have seen a road cut as I saw today. I don't know if it was because I opened the track, but I'm sorry they did it. They should be ashamed of themselves. We all do our best to contribute to the sport. Cutting a road to hurt your opponents? I am very unhappy about this situation. Anyway, tomorrow we will be here to continue",

said the pilot.

Helder Oliveira, accompanied by Carlos Jorge Mendes in a Ford Ranger, was the second classified of the day after having finished in fourth place in the 6km prologue that took place this morning. The pilot from Barcelos returned to the competitions in this Baja TT Montes Alentejanos and was satisfied with the first day of the race which ended with a short difference of four seconds for the first place:

"We were stopped since Reguengos. We started with a good prologue. To get the fourth fastest time was very good. At the start of SS2 we had a scare. The car started to lose gasoline through the breather just before we started and was hard to stop it. We spent the whole section smelling gasoline, which caused us some anxiety. We thought we were losing a lot of fuel and that we might not finish. Fortunately we managed to finish the section in third. In the last selective sector we didn't have any problems, we went as fast as we could, already with little traction, but we managed to win the special stage and climb to second place after the first stage. It was a great result and I'm very happy",

he commented.

João Ramos, navigated by Filipe Palmeiro, who on the eve of the race had suffered a mishap when he recognized the prologue by bike, ended up not being happy on the race and crashed his brand new Toyota Hilux when was in second place trying to climb to the lead of the race. Alejandro Martins, in an X-Raid Mini,  another candidate to the victory, was also out of the race due to an accident,  referring as the cause of his accident the problems in the roadbook.

The race continued on Sunday repeating the two stages of the previous day, and once again the fight of the top places was tough.   If Tiago Reis was leading the race, a very determined José Luis Recuenco in Mini X-Raid was behind him trying to conquer the 1st place, losing only 56 seconds on SS4 and on 27 seconds on SS5.  Helder Oliveira was also pushing hard, finishing SS4 in third and showing great speed on SS5 until the moment a flat tire put an end to his ambitions.

After two days of racing in the "Baixo Alentejo" region, Tiago Reis was the great winner of the Portuguese Championship opening race.   Reis finished the race with a 3m6s advantage over the Spaniard Luís Recuenco in Mini Countryman who finished second after overtaking Helder Oliveira's Ford Ranger. The third place on the podium was occupied by Pedro Dias da Silva who, racing a Ford Proto.  Helder Oliveira finished fourth.

2dn Overall - Jose Luis Recuenco

 

Tiago Reis ended the race very satisfied with the result he achieved:

"It was a fantastic weekend. Everything went well and we are very happy with this victory. Already in the final part of today's stage we had a small problem in the front differential, but it was nothing special and we managed to finish normally. Now we are already focusing on the next races, which we hope will be equally positive."

In the T2 class Georgino Pedroso, navigated by Carlos Silva in Isuzu, led the competition from the beginning to the end but won the race with a short advantage of 13s to the second of the T2s, the young duo formed by João Franco and Pedro Inácio. In the T3 class, Filipe Nascimento and Paulo Torres won.

Among the T4 class, Gualter Barros/Francisco Esperto won, while in the T8 class Michael Braun and Ivo Santos conquered first place.
 
The victory in the Cross-Country Portugal Cup went to the duo formed by Cesário Santos and Alexandre Gomes who, driving a Nissan, also took the lead on the first day of the race and never let it go.

 

3rd Overall - Pedro D. Silva

 

From the official press releases
Photos Rally-Raid Network

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