The 36th edition of Baja Espana Aragon began on Thursday with the traditional pre-start events – administrative and technical checks held at the Exhibition and Congress Palace of Teruel.
Cars category of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and “Aragon Trophy”, as well as the Spanish National Championship; motorcycles, quads, trucks and buggies, ParaBaja* participants – they all represent one of the most crowded sports field in recent years. In 2019 Baja España Aragón is held as the fourth round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas (for cars) and the fourth round of the FIM (World Motorcycle Federation) Bajas World Cup .
221 participants, representing 27 nationalities, were ready to start. It is enough to list only a few names from the “star” players of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas – Russian Vladimir Vasilyev, who came to Spain as the intermediate classification leader, Martin Prokop, Jakub Przygonski, Orlando Terranova – the sprint race will immediately reveal a bright fight and will please the raids fans.
The first leg of the Spanish Baja began at 8.00 on Friday without the usual “warm-up” Prologue. Participants were offered a route consisting of two special stages of 164.78 km and 86.74 km, respectively, separated by a day service. During two racing days participants will cover a total distance of more than 500 kilometers.
During the whole day the racers had to attack the fast Spanish roads with mountain areas, pits, narrow places and corners that require very high concentration. For security reasons, the starting order for the first day coincided with the starting numbers assigned for the race, and the crew of Russians Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov had the honor of “making the correct trajectories” and facilitating the task of overcoming the sports track for subsequent crews.
The difficult route made us experience several unpleasant moments: the VRT crew had a puncture at the SS-1 “North” and was forced to stop, wasting valuable time on mounting the spare wheel. Thus, Vladimir Vasilyev managed to finish only with the seventh result, having passed ahead Ornando Terranova, Jakub Przygonsky, Joan Nani Roma, Martin Prokop and Bernhard ten Brinke – they all started after the Russian. At the second special stage – “South” – the transmission in the car of the Belgian stable failed, consistently “clicking off” the high gears as unnecessary. By the half of the special stage distance only the third gear remained working, but it did not allow to keep a high pace of driving that also affected the crew’s result – by the end of the day Vasilyev managed to keep the seventh line of the general classification after the first leg.
Vladimir Vasilyev, VRT crew driver, “Today is not our day… We drove the first on the track in the morning, punctured the wheel, so we changed it and lost time. And at the second special stage we had troubles with the gearbox, we drove 30 kilometers to the finish only with the remaining third gear. And it was raining during the day service, so the route of the second special stage became rather dirty. The organizers didn’t make any changes to the distance in comparison with the previous year – the typical Spanish race with stony surface and twisted roads; was not easy to overcome. Our goal for tomorrow is to rise higher in the general classification”.
On Saturday participants will find the same two stages, but in the opposite direction, with a total length of more than 500 kilometers: motorcycle and quad riders will start at 6.30, others – at 7.00.
* – ParaBaja category – allows people with disabilities to take part in the race and demonstrates the commitment of the Baja España Aragón organizers to the principles of fair competition.