Lotto Baja Poland – FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies-Rd 8
RETURNING FIA WORLD CUP CHAMPION VASILYEV HEADS POWERFUL FIVE-CAR OVERDRIVE RACING TEAM IN POLAND
· Dutchman Ten Brinke and Pole Dabrowski crew second and third Toyotas
· Pole Kaczmarski returns in Toyota; Jes Munk set for second Overdrive outing
SZCZECIN BEZRZECZE (Poland): Overdrive Racing’s hectic summer period continues unabated this weekend, when the Belgian team enters five Toyota Hiluxes in Lotto Baja Poland, round eight of the 2015 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.
The three-day event is based at Szczecin Bezrzecze and the competitive action takes place in the military area of Drawsko Pomorskie and the community of Dobra on Saturday (August 29) and Sunday (August 30).
Vladimir Vasilyev, the defending FIA World Cup champion, returns to the Overdrive Racing line-up after missing the last two Bajas in Spain and Hungary to recover from a heart procedure. The Russian lost the lead in the FIA World Cup to Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah after the Hungarian event and arrives in Szczecin trailing the Qatari by just nine points.
With 30 points available to the winner in Poland, Vasilyev and his fellow Russian navigator Konstantin Zhiltsov know the importance of staying out of trouble over the demanding Polish military terrain and amassing as many championship points as possible with their Toyota Hilux.
Dutchman Bernhard Ten Brinke and Belgian co-pilot Tom Colsoul continue their Dakar Rally preparations with a second outing in a Toyota Hilux in the space of three weeks. Ten Brinke finished second overall in Hungary and will be anxious to improve on last year’s performance in Poland. He held a top five position before leaving the track on the fourth stage.
Electrical problems cost the Polish duo of Marek Dabrowski and Jacek Czachor a potential top finish in Hungary two weeks ago and the Team Orlen-backed pair will be aiming to climb into third place in the FIA World Cup standings with a podium finish in Szczecin. Dabrowski finished fourth in his home event last season and knows that, in the absence of team-mate Reinaldo Varela, he has an excellent opportunity to move up the championship standings and settle in behind Al-Attiyah and Vasilyev.
Poland’s Martin Kaczmarski also returns to the Overdrive Racing line-up for the first time this season. Third overall in last year’s Baja Poland, behind winner Krzysztof Holowczyc and runner-up Adam Malysz, Kaczmarski has often shown an impressive turn of speed on cross-country events.
He finished ninth overall in the 2014 Dakar Rally and other notable performances include second place in Baja Portalegre in 2013 and third in Baja Spain, fourth in the Russian Northern Forest Rally and fifth in the Italian Baja last year.
Dane Jes Munk reached the finish of his first event with Overdrive Racing in 21st overall two weeks ago. He and French navigator Jean Brucy return to action in the fifth Overdrive Toyota.
“It’s great to have Vladimir (Vasilyev) back in the team and to have five drivers on Baja Poland for a second successive season,” said Overdrive Racing’s team director Jean-Marc Fortin. “This is an important event for us. Vladimir is very much in the hunt for a second FIA World Cup title and it’s also the last of four events in just a few weeks for the entire team.
“This is not an easy event by any means, but we will be chasing the win and trying to put three of our five cars on the podium.”
A round of the FIA World Cup for a fourth successive season, the event will run over a route of approximately 706km and 414km of competition. Administration and scrutineering checks take place on Thursday and Friday and the ceremonial start gets proceedings underway at Boulevard Waly Chrobrego in Szczecin from 17.00hrs (CET) on Friday. Crews then tackle a six-kilometre Prologue stage from 18.00hrs.
The meat of the action takes place on Saturday and crews will tackle two runs through a 144km selective section (Drawsko Pomorskie), starting at 08.30hrs and 13.35hrs, respectively.
The competitive action reaches a conclusion on Sunday with two runs through the 60km Dobra selective section, starting at 09.15hrs and 12.45hrs.
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies – positions after round 7:
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT) 180 pts
2. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) 171 pts
3. Reinaldo Varela (BRA) 97 pts
4. Marek Dabrowski (POL) 82 pts
4. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE) 82 pts
6. Erik van Loon (NLD) 72 pts
7. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU) 66 pts
8. Orlando Terranova (ARG) 37 pts
9. Harry Hunt (GBR) 32 pts
10. Joan Roma (ESP) 30 pts
10. Tapio Suominen (FIN) 30 pts
(Overdrive Toyota drivers in bold)