The seventh round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies will be held in Spain on 20-22 July and will continue the global series with another interesting battle. The Spanish Baja Aragon-2018 celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. One of the gifts for the raid participants is the opportunity to win a free ticket to participate in the Dakar marathon for those who have never performed there.
Baja in Teruel has never lacked participants: there are more than 230 crews in four scoring categories (Cars, Trucks, Bikes & Quads and ParaBaja); famous world-class racers and the FIA priority list drivers are among them.
The Russian crew of Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov will take part in the Baja Aragon with the starting number 203 in T1.1 scoring category that counts more than 50 drivers.
At the same time, Vasilyev and Zhiltsov are some of the main competition newsmakers; all attention is focused on them: having missed last year’s Spanish Baja for health reasons, the Russians have decided to perform in a new car in 2018 that will add complexity and spice to the struggle for leadership .
Konstantin Zhiltsov, co-driver, “On the one hand, it’s always difficult to change one car to another, but on the other – it’s interesting: you see and analyze the pros and cons of the vehicles your rivals drive. It’s inquiring to compare those feelings when you use a gasoline or diesel engine, depending on the type of roads, not to speak of the ability to quickly adapt to the new vehicle”.
Instead of the diesel Mini All4Racing, the Russian crew will start at the Baja Aragon in the gas Toyota Hilux, prepared by the famous motorsport team Overdrive.
There will be 4 more crews in the Overdrive Toyotas:
- No. 204 Aron Domzala / Maciej Marton,
- No. 206 Eric Van Loon / Wouter Rosegaar,
- No. 207 Xevi Pons / Diego San Juan,
- No. 241 Jesus Gonzalez / Jaume Aregall – the driver of this crew is a famous Spanish showman, TV host, traveler and alpinist, Mount Everest conqueror.
It should be noted that all the above-mentioned crews, except No. 241, have the FIA priority, that is, these racers approved themselves in the previous season, so they start before the entire field in their category. The struggle is going to be very interesting – the vehicles of potential rivals and team-mates simultaneously have similar technical characteristics that will level their advantages and allow the racers to show exactly the personal skills and skills of driving and orienting on the track.
Vladimir Vasilyev plans to offer a battle to his rivals for the champion title. The situation in the overall standings after six rounds of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies is as follows: the Pole Jakub Przygonski is leading with 216 points, followed by the Czech Martin Prokop with 156 points, the Russian Vladimir Vasilyev rounds out the top three with 155 points – the backlog from Prokop is very small. The maximum number of points for the Baja Aragon 2018 is 30, since the race has a single coefficient according to the FIA system. Here it is logical to assume that Przygonski is still providing leadership for himself at the expense of scored points, but there will be a serious battle for the second position: Vasilyev will not give up the chance to earn points and rise in the top.
Konstantin Zhiltsov, co-driver, “We are in a good mood: we hope to offer an interesting fight for the FIA World Cup. This race is quite challenging, requiring both driving and high navigating concentration – rocky and stony roads don’t allow to drive sweepingly, we must protect the tyres; and according to the FIA regulations we have only 8 of them. We need to be careful and cautious. We would like to conduct an experiment for ourselves: to spend the race with the Overdrive team in their gasoline Toyota Hilax. The car is worthy – Nasser Al-Attiyah drove it. We hope that we’ll like it. And we also would like to compare our technical achievements that we carried out when modernizing our diesel vehicle with rival cars in order to get the corresponding experience. The temperature is +30, as we love, so we’ll sweat!”
In 2018, as well as for the last 5 years, the Baja headquarters is located in the Teruel museum town, but the route is different from last year’s one, although it will pass along the roads in the vicinity of Teruel. The competitive part of the route length is 525 km, the track is divided into three stages and a traditional short Prologue, all the racers will have to overcome more than 800 km of the total distance.
20 July (Friday)
- Prologue – 13 km;
21 July (Saturday)
- SS-1 – 225 km;
- SS-2 – 165 km;
22 July (Sunday)
- SS-3 – 125 km;
- Finish and Prize-giving ceremony.