Orlando Terranova won the HunGarian Baja in the cars" category, with his victory the Argentinean took the lead in the overall World Cup standing, too, while in the motorcycles" category Adam Tomiczek won here, and Benjamin Melot in the World Cup.
If they thought to have been over the hump, they were wrong. Although the crews of HunGarian Baja completed the two unusually long 208-km selective stages on Saturday, but the Sunday's two 82-km stages were not easy either. Especially that in this close field the fight lasted until the last metres.
In the cars category Orlando Terranova and Martin Prokop went head-to-head for the first position. The stake was higher for the Argentinean, because he is chasing the overall World Cup, while the Czech driver wanted to win "only" this race, and he was ready for taking risk. Fortunately, pushing the limit did not cause any incidents, only a close finish: on the first stage there was only a 2-second gap between the leaders, in favour of Terranova.
"We did not have hydraulic jack again, so we had to focus on not to get puncture. We had a 30-second lead after the first half of the stage, but only 2 seconds remained, because we were lost a bit. The tyres were not in good condition, but it could have been worse…" Terranova explained that according to the rules only 8 tyres could be used during the weekend and the se long and rocky stages wore the tyres very much.
How much risk did Prokop take? Much! "We took a lot of risk, we had some scary moments, but Orli (Terranova) pushed hard. I hoped to catch him on the first stage on Sunday, but we could not do it. Yet we tried to win the race on the last stage, and put all our eggs in one basket" admitted Prokop.
It meant that on the last stage, they literally did everything, and although the stage was won by Prokop, Terranova won the race by 37 seconds.
"It was a long and difficult weekend. I am here for the second time and I can tell that the race is developing all the time. The two 208-km stages on Saturday were extremely tough, and for us the finish also happened to be exciting. I have loved the Hungarian race so far, but now it is definitely one of my favourites" said Terranova, who took the lead by 10 points in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas. But there are three more races to go.
Before the Hungarian World Cup race Vladimir Vasilyev was leading, but this time the Russian driver had to settle with the third place, so he slipped to second position, because he got a puncture on Sunday, too. It is true, that only 3 km before end of the stage, so at least he got to the finish now. He also pushed hard, after a jump he slipped for seconds on the front two wheels of the Toyota, which is not typically functional. However, the most important thing is the third position, so the Russian could celebrate his 50th birthday with a podium finish.
"Kuba" Przygonski, who finished fourth, faced many problems in the previous days, but for Sunday everything was solved and he could get back into the running. "We lost much time, but we are still in the running, and it is good news. Even better that we have brake and my leg does not hurt so much as yesterday, when we had to complete that long stage without brake" said the Polish driver, who was on the podium in the last two years, but now he has just missed it here in Hungary.
The best Hungarian crew was Pál Lónyai and Albert Horn by finishing fifth. It is a great success considering the strong field. But since they were standing on fourth place, too, they definitely wanted to keep that position. "The race was a big challenge because of its long stages and rocky terrain, the organisers did a super job. We had some adventures, today for example we did not see a left turn properly and we took it wider, but on the right side there was a deep down there. Finally, we could turn in, but frightened ourselves a bit. We got tired, but fifth position in this classy international field is more than great."
The leaders of the motorcycle category had a huge fight for the World Cup points. The guys pulled and pushed as they could, while they were concentrating at the maximum, because they knew: the only man who makes no mistake is the man who can win here.
"The stage is good and fast. Although we started behind the cars, so there are a lot of stones, we must watch them, otherwise we can crash. I did not have a confident lead ahead of Stefan (Svitko), so I tried to go my own rhythm and not to make any mistake. On the whole, it was a long, tiring, but enjoyable race" said the Polish winner. Finally, Adam Tomiczek finished 2:37 minutes ahead of Svitko in the overall classification.
Certainly, while waiting for the prize winning ceremony, they were sitting together in the shadow and talking about the difficulties and adventures of the last two days. "Adam was very fast, and I could not close on him better, because I did not want to make mistakes on these rocky roads. Today"s stage was really fast, and probably a bit dangerous, so I had to focus on very much."
The third placed Maciej Giemza rather looked back and not ahead, because he was chasing by the future winner of the overall FIM Bajas World Cup, the French Benjamin Melot. But when the Polish realised that he added 4 more minutes to his lead on the first stage, he settled a bit. "We completed the reverse of the Saturday stage, but I remembered some parts that helped to grow my confidence" Giemza said.
And how did the World Cup winner see the race? "It would have been cool to celebrate the overall victory with a podium finish, but it did not happen. On Sunday we were just focusing on finishing the race, because my wrist was hurt after the Saturday"s fall, which happened after a bigger jump. The first three guys were very fast anyway, and though I wanted to catch them, this fourth position was enough for the overall World Cup victory. I am tired, but very happy" said Melot.
Final classification. Cars:
1. Orlando Terranova, Bernardo Graue (Argentinean, Mini John Cooper) 6:44:54,
2. Prokop, Tománek (Czech, Ford Raptor) +37 sec, 3. Vasilyev, Ziltsov (Russian, Toyota Hilux) +16:29 min,
4. Przygonski, Gottshclak (Polish, German, Mini John Cooper) +43:37 min,
5. Pál Lónyai, Albert Horn (Hungarian, LPR Porsche Macan) +44:36 min.
1. Adam Tomiczek (Polish, Husqvarna) 6:01:48,
2. Svitko (Slovakian, KTM) +2:37 min,
3. Giemza (Polish, Husqvarna) +27:38 min.
Source Hungarian Baja official press release
Photos: HunGarian Baja and X-Raid