The FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas continues –the sixth of eight short off-road competitions will be held in Poland from 29 August 29 to 1 September.
The record holder here in terms of the number of victories (five consecutive years, from 2010 to 2015) and the event attendance is the three-time Polish rally champion Krzysztof Holowczyc –the 2013 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies winner. Vladimir Vasilyev, Jakub Przygonski, Orlando Terranova, Benediktas Vanagas and Miroslav Zapletal, the permanent residents of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, will compete with him at this year event.
ORLEN Baja Poland is a competition that Vasilyev has never won yet. His best result in Poland is the third place in 2018. Nevertheless, the Russian driver has a strong experience insuccessful performances, both on home tracks and abroad, and, of course, Vladimir Vasilyev is determined to compete for victory at the Polish Baja. But on the way to it, he needs to get ahead of local aces – Przygonski and Holowczyc, as well as the Argentinean Orlando Terranova, who managed to win the previous three rounds.
The Baja Poland routes are located near the municipalities of Szczecin, the Drawsko Pomorskie and Dobra in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. The organizers have created the longest route in the history of eleven competitions, connecting familiar and new roads on a long “military” special stage on Saturday with shorter, rally-like, sprint fast tracks near Szczecin. The Baja route is divided into two and a half days of competition, the organizers have prepared an almost rally format for the participants: seven special stages with a total distance of 504.86 kilometers.
The competition start and the pre-start formalities were scheduled for Friday – administrative and technical checks, followed by a test section; and in the evening there were the Ceremonial start and the super special stage that the riders drove after sunset.
The crew of Jakub Przygonski won the short spectator special stage, where the drivers went after the start ceremony, with a result of five minutes and 59.2 seconds. Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov finished the seven-kilometer stage in the fifth position, after the crews of Holowczyc, Zapletal and Vanagas.
Vladimir Vasilyev, crew driver, “So far we’re trying to get used to the track, but it’s almost impossible at such a short special stage – we finished fifth, having lost 17.5 seconds. Sand and gravel surface is severely torn by wheels and a rather serious rut appears. Tomorrow we have to drive 440 kilometers, we will compete there”.
Before this Baja start, Russian Vladimir Vasilyev was in the second position in the intermediate classification of the series, losing 10 points to Orlando Terranova. High competition for leading positions in the race is expected between these crews, because three rounds before the end of the season only participants with a mathematical chance to win can fight for points.