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Pondělí, 12. srpna 2019 (16:37) Pavel Jelínek

Na HunGarian Baja Martin Prokop stříbrný.

Naše posádka Martin Prokop Jan Tománek ( Ford Raptor) byla jen o 37 sekund pomalejší, jak  vítězové Orlando Terranova, a Bernardo Graue (Argentinean, Mini John Cooper) na víkendové  HunGarian Baja 2019.

V pátek začali dokonce jako nejrychlejší, ale pak jezdili na  místě  druhém, kde  významnou soutěž taky dokončili. 

HunGarian Baja: huge fight till the end

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 the 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. 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 bike 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 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas, 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 a part 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.


 

HUNGARIAN BAJA, World Cup Race, VÁRPALOTA

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.

Motorcycles: 1. Adam Tomiczek (Polish, Husqvarna) 6:01:48, 2. Svitko (Slovakian, KTM) +2:37 min, 3. Giemza (Polish, Husqvarna) +27:38 min.


Po sobotě : 

Long stage, big heat, awesome rivalries
 

Long, hot, tiring, fast, bumpy, enjoyable! These words get on well in only a cross country rally driver’s vocabulary, if speaking about a stage. Why? Because these guys love challenges. The organisers of the Hungarian leg of FIA 2019 World Cup for Cross Country Bajas marked out a 208-km stage for the crews this day, who arrived at the service park in Várpalota exhausted, but happy after the whole day’s hard work.

They fought great battles and stood the challenges.

This Saturday race distance would even match a Dakar stage, especially that here millions of turns made the drivers’ and mostly the co-drivers’ life more difficult either on the shooting range or the forest roads.

On SS1 Orlando Terranova was the fastest among the car drivers, while on SS2 Martin Prokop drove fastest – the Argentinean is leading the overall classification. Victory would be essential for him, because he is only 4 points behind the overall leader, the Russian Vladimir Vasilyev, who is presently on third position.

‘On the whole it was a hard day, we faced a lot of challenges’ said Terranova, driving a Mini Cooper, in the finish. ‘Just to mention that our jack was torn off, so a puncture could be fatal for us. Being aware of this it was not easy to complete the second 208 km, so I became very tired by the end. And also because spending five hours in this heat is very exhausting. I like the stage itself, even if it is very tough and there is no place for any distraction.’

The second placed Martin Prokop is only 46 seconds behind, and that means he still has good chance to win, which he aims for.

‘We did not make any mistake, our rhythm and results were good, but we had to keep focusing very much’ said Prokop. ‘We got a good rhythm and then came a jolting section that put us off. We had to adjust to the continuously changing conditions and it was not easy to choose the proper speed. It was a tricky stage, but fortunately our car worked well. We drove with a new gearbox and new setup, and both paid off. However, the air-conditioning broke down in the car, so the heat took off a lot of energy from us. We are not far behind, so we try to go for the win.’

Originally, the third placed Vladimir Vasilyev was also aiming for victory, but the morning’s puncture made his job very difficult.

‘At the 120th km we got a left rear puncture. We changed the tyre, but meantime Orli (Terranova) overtook us’ said Vasilyev. ‘We did not make huge mistakes, but it is very tiring to start from the pole, because you cannot see the road ahead. So a stone could cut easily our tyre. It was an exhausting and long stage. I do not know what to do with the tyres, because we can use only eight ones according to the rules. But the stage eats the tyres.’

Much to the delight of the Hungarian fans, Pál Lónyai and Albert Horn are standing on fourth position, and they intend to keep it by the end.

‘The race is awesome, the organisers did great job by connecting old stages. The track has become world class’ said Lónyai. ‘Though it is very challenging, everybody was totally exhausted in the finish. Until now we could save our power and the car, too. We hope we can continue like this. We had some small mistakes, but this fourth position is awesome, we’ve just taken a bow with my co-driver to try to keep it.’

The Polish Jakub Przygonski, driving the other Mini, was also in the running, but he was not very lucky. On Stage 1 the brake broke down in his car, they tried to exchange it in the service park, so they were late from the check point, but the problem was not solved, and it was quite difficult to drive without brake – Przygonski could barely feel his leg by the evening.

For the motorcycle racers the challenge was even bigger. They race on foot for almost all the way down, indeed they started later, in even greater heat. The second stage was short cut for them after dark, so it finished at the 138th km. However, it was well enough, they will definitely sleep well due to exhaustion.

Victory was shared by the Polish Adam Tomicek and Slovakian Stefan Svitko. In overall classification the Polish is leading, though by only 34 seconds, so it is quite close. It is good news for the spectators, because big battle is expected on Sunday, too.

‘It was a great stage. I started from the back of the field on the first one, so I made the first 100 km in big dust. I went into a hole that threw me away, I did a big jump’ Tomicek spoke about the morning’s happenings. ‘Then I fell over 10 km before the finish, because I had problems with my tyres, but finally it worked out. It is extremely hot and the stage is long. It is a huge feeling when we get into the forest and have some shadow after the fast first part of the track.’

Stefan Svitko is well aware of the environment, because he already competed in HunGarian Baja many times, indeed, he has already won here. ‘It is very fast and rocky, sometimes a bit dangerous’ said the Slovakian racer. ‘Though I enjoyed it very much, except for the last 15 km, when I caught an SSV and then I rode in its dust. The bike is good, I am not tired either, so the motto for the second stage was: let’s push as hard as I can!’

He exactly did it, because he won the stage, though he could not take the lead. Maciej Giemza is standing on third position, he was chasing by the World Cup leader, the French Benjamin Melot, who is almost 2 and a half minute behind. He can catch the Polish only if he makes a mistake or has some technical issues.

‘It was a good day, though I made a small mistake: I saw a road on the left and I went there instead of following the right direction’ said Benjamin Melot, who finished fourth both stages. ‘I lost about 40 seconds. Regardless, I enjoyed this fast, sometimes bumpy stage that eats the tyres, so we must focus on very much. I try to catch Maciej, but I will not take too much risk.’

That is understandable. If you are aspiring for the overall World Cup victory, your priorities are different from those, who ‘only’ wants to win a race…

To be continued on Sunday with two 82-km stages.

HUNGARIAN BAJA, World CUP race, VÁRPALOTA

Overall classification after three selective stages. Cars: 1. Orlando Terranova, Bernardo Graue (Argetinean, Mini John Cooper) 5:00:04, 2. Prokop, Tománek (Czech, Ford Raptor) +46 sec, 3. Vasilyev, Ziltsov (Russian, Toyota Hilux) +7:27 min, 4. Pál Lónyai, Albert Horn (Hungarian, LPR Porsche Macan) +32:43 min. Bikes: 1. Adam Tomiczek (Polish, Husqvarna) 4:15:27, 2. Svitko (Slovakian, KTM) +34 sec, 3. Giemza (Polish, Husqvarna) +17:32 min.

Po pátku:

 

Brief but to the point warm-up, spectacular starting ceremony


 

Superspecial of HunGarian Baja, the Hungarian leg of World Cup was brief but to the point – the crews faced many jumps within 7.18 km. Martin Prokop was the fastest among them.

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.

HUNGARIAN BAJA, World Cup race, VÁRPALOTA

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.

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