Hungarian Baja: Three MINI in the top 10
· Hirvonen and Przygonski finish second and third respectively
· Very good MINI debut for Rautenbach
The Hungarian Baja, round No 8 on the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup calendar, proved to be a successful event for X-raid, with all the three MINI that contested the event making it to the top 10. With their MINI John Cooper Works Rally, Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and Andreas Schulz (GER) finished second, followed by Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski (POL) and Tom Colsoul (BEL) who came third in the second MINI John Cooper Works Rally. Meanwhile, Conrad Rautenbach (ZWE) made a successful debut in his MINI ALL4 Racing. Together with his co-driver Filipe Palmeiro (POR), he secured sixth place. With the Hungarian Baja contested, Przygonski still holds second position in the World Cup standings.
The collaboration between Hirvonen and Schulz keeps on improving consistently. The pairing secured second place in four of the five special stages and only in the final special stage they did slightly worse by coming third. “It’s a pity that we once again had to settle for finishing second,” said the Finn who crossed the finish line in the end just three and a half minutes behind the winner, Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Przygonski finished third in nearly every special stage and fourth in the last. As a result, he also clinched third place in the overall ranking. “It was a good race for us,” the young Pole said afterwards. “It was my first appearance in the Hungarian Baja and the routes were beautiful but difficult – with a lot of bumpy sections and water crossings.”
For Rautenbach it was the first rally at the wheel of a MINI and following a familiarisation phase he got on well. He had to settle for finishing 10th in the first special stage but secured sixth place in all the others. “My first rally in the MINI didn’t run too bad,” the driver from Zimbabwe beamed, “Although I have to admit that I needed more time for familiarising with the new car than I had expected. I made progress special stage by special stage and it’s a pity that the rally is already over. One day more and I would have been even faster. The MINI was very good, particularly in the tough stages with the bumpy routes. I t took me some time to adapt to how fast you can drive the car in this kind of sections.”
The coming weeks will be extremely stressful for X-raid. For two events – the Desafio Ruta 40 and the Rally dos Sertoes – the squad will travel to South America. And in end of August, the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup will be continued with the Baja Poland.
Hungarian Baja – Overall ranking after SS5
1st N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) Toyota – 5h 24m 54s
2nd M. Hirvonen (FIN) / A. Schulz (GER) MINI John Cooper Works Rally – 5h 28m 32s
3rd J. Przygonski (POL) / T. Colsoul (BEL) MINI John Cooper Works Rally – 5h 32m 56s
4th M. Prokop (CZE) / J. Tomanek (CZE) Ford – 5h 38m 51s
5th A. Domzala (POL) / M. Marton (POL) Toyota – 5h 40m 58s
6th C. Rautenbach (ZWE) / F. Palmeiro (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 5h 50m 23s