Hungarian Baja 2019: Brief but to the point warm-up, spectacular starting ceremony

Hungarian Baja 2019: Brief but to the point warm-up, spectacular starting ceremony

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Salute was fired in front of the Thury Castle in Várpalota, but not at the usual time. According to the traditions the rifle pops off at 15.54 every day for the honour of the one-time castellan, György Thury, who had arrived to the city in 1554. But now there was a shot at 20.30, too, fired by the trooper of the present castellan – for the honour of the competitors in HunGarian Baja, the Hungarian race of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas.

It all happened before the official starting ceremony, and both were preluded by the 7.18-km superspecial. It was fast and very exciting, top drivers of the World Cup were all smiles when got off the stage. 

The Czech Martin Prokop drove the best time, who finally chose Nr. 4 as starting number, very tactically: he did not want either to clean the road or swallow the dust, this meant the golden mean.

"First part of the stage was tricky and bumpy. We had a quite big moment, but fortunately we knew the terrain, because we could walk through on it in the morning. We enjoyed driving, but it is only the beginning, the real fight starts tomorrow’ Prokop said.

He is absolutely right, because the longest ever Hungarian race is coming, but it is also one of the longest in Baja World Cup this year (on Saturday two 208-km stages and on Sunday two 82-km stages await for the crews). The competitors have already prepared for the challenge. They know that if it is 34 Celsius outside, it is 55 Celsius inside, which is not easy to survive for long hours. The World Cup points are not free gifts.

"In the morning recce that we made by bicycle we got a puncture, but in the afternoon we got it off’ the Russian Vasilyev said, who leads the overall standing by four points. "We cleaned the road that was reflected on our time, we had to settle with fifth position. But everybody knows that it is only the beginning.’

Otherwise Vasilyev was really brave, because he chose Nr. 1 starting number.

The Argentinean Orlando Terranova with a Mini, who is chasing him in the World Cup, came here to make the Russian’s life more difficult. "Besides good speed smart drive is important, because here every mistake costs a lot. The superspecial was fast, but we had fun. We pushed hard’ Terranova said, who finished third, but chose Nr 2. starting number.

The Polish Jakub Przygonski finished second – and he will start as third.

"I pushed as I could. We jumped and bounced and sometimes we drove by 170 km/h. We had a huge battle with Orli (Terranova), but Martin (Prokop) was even better – congrats for him” Przygonski said.

Pál Lónyai was the best Hungarian in the cars’ competition, who finished ninth as the only Hungarian in top 10. It is interesting to mention that he drove his first ever race here in HunGarian Baja (but this is already history), and although he was not very lucky at that time (he crashed over on the first stage), he returns every year and he loves racing at home.

"I am very happy to race at home, I believe that we can attract the attention to the fantastic Hungarian stages and races. Thank you for being here in this beautiful environment’ Pál Lónyai said, who will start as tenth.

Unfortunately the bikes could not show what they were capable of, because Nr. 301 side by side buggy crashed at the beginning of the stage, its driver, Dirk von Zitzewitz was hurt and taken to hospital by the rescue helicopter: he has severe bruising, broken ribs and collarbone. The HunGarian Baja’s family wishes him a fast recovery. 

Overall classification after the superspecial. 
Cars: 1. Martin Prokop, Jan Tománek (Czech, Ford Raptor) 4:48.5, 
2. Przygonski, Gottschalk (Polish, German, Mini John Cooper) +6.5 sec, 
3. Terranova, Graue (Argentinean, Mini John Cooper) +7.2 sec, 

9. Pál Lónyai, Albert Horn (Hungarian, LPR Porsche Macan) +53.2 sec.


Source HunGarian Baja press release

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