FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas – Hungarian Baja 2022 (Round 4/5)
Lithuanian driver Benediktas Vanagas and his Estonian co-driver Kuldar Sikk won four of the five stages to secure a comfortable win in 8:37.7 at the 19th Hungarian Baja, the fourth and penultimate round of the 2022 FIA European Cross-Country Cup -Bajas.
This was the Toyota Gazoo Racing Baltics driver’s first appearance at the Várpalota event. He followed the fastest run through the first 9.47km qualifying stage to set the fastest times on the first two selective legs of 137.96km each, before clinching the second of two runs through the 66.22km selection at the Sunday, which ran between Gyulafirátót and Várpalota, added a best time.
Vanagas said: “Saturday was the main day. It was a reasonable Dakar day and the stages were really technical. You had to be focused to go fast. We were lucky enough to win both stages and that gave us a comfortable lead. The car was great except for a slow puncture towards the end of the final stage on Saturday.”
Co-driver Sikk added: “It rained lightly during the night and we thought there might be some wet spots on Sunday. But actually the road was still dusty and the weather was hot again. We took it easy and didn’t push too hard to get the car home safely.”
The priority for Portuguese duo João Ferreira and David Monteiro was to earn as many championship points as possible and the Mini John Cooper Works Rally crew won stage four and set three second best times en route to a provisional second place after the last stage. The result initially allowed Ferreira to extend his lead over Michal Maluszyński in the Drivers’ Championship after the Pole finished third with Lukasz Kureja in a second X-raid-built Mini.
But Ferreira had swapped two wheels on the left side of the car in front of Baja officials at a parc fermé area. Meeting stewards later handed the Portuguese a three-minute time penalty that dropped him to third in the standings behind his title rival. Maluszyński will now go into next month’s championship finals with an unofficial three-point lead.
Ferreira said: “We have to go to Poland now and try to win the European Championship. Today’s stage was part of the route we used yesterday but walked in reverse. It was difficult, tricky and very slippery. We managed to win the first one and then Benediktas won the second one.”
Maluszyński added: “It was an interesting race for me. The course was very different, with faster parts and slower parts and lots of holes. It was very different from Poland and Italy, but we are happy to finish second now.”
Czech Miroslav Zapletal teamed up with Slovakian co-driver Marek Sykora to finish fourth in a homebuilt Hummer H3. Quaddy Racing’s Italian duo of Amerigo Ventura and Mirko Brun completed the top five, winning the FIA T4 category in their Yamaha YXZ 1000 R and the rider took an unassailable lead in the T4 Championship while Czech duo Zdeněk Pořízek and Pavel Vaculík finished sixth in a Ford F150 Evo.
Santiago Navarro kept his outside chance of winning the drivers’ championship with seventh place overall and first place in the T3 category. The success marked the Spaniard’s fourth consecutive victory with an FN Speed Team Can-Am Maverick X3 in the light prototype competition section.
František Brutovsky and Petr Hauptmann finished eighth in the second of the F150 Fords and Navarros teammates Jordi Segura and Sergi Brugué were second in the T3 and finished ninth. German privateer Bernt Hoffmann teamed up with Italian Juan Carlos Carignani to round out the top 10 and take third place in T3.
Six of the 21 starters in the FIA category were eliminated: Pole Tomasz Bialkowski had been seventh fastest on the qualifying leg before retiring his Polaris in the first selective leg, while local hero Luka Csucsu drove Speedy Motorsport‘s Toyota Hilux on Saturday second stage turned off.
Title challenger Pedro Dias da Silva (Volkswagen) was eliminated on the first of Sunday’s stages and Edgar Condenso (Ford), Pál Lónyai (Porsche) and Michael Braun (Ford) failed to start on the final day after inflicting heavy time penalties on Saturday.
The finals of the FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas will be held in Poland from September 1st to 4th.
19th Hungarian Baja – Final Unofficial Results:
1. Benediktas Vanagas (LTU)/Kuldar Sikk (EST) Toyota Hilux 4 hrs 43 mins 16.7 secs
2. Michal Maluszyński (POL)/Lukasz Kurzeja (POL) Mini JCW Rally 4 hrs 51 mins 54.4 s
3. João Ferreira (PRT)/David Monteiro (PRT) Mini JCW Rally 4 hrs 52 mins 05.9s
4. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Marek Sykora (SVK) Hummer H3 Evo 5 hrs 08 mins 13.0 sec
5. Amerigo Ventura (ITA)/Mirko Brun (ITA) Yamaha YXZ 1000 R (T4) 5 hrs 25 mins 24.3 secs
6. Zdeněk Pořízek (CZE)/Pavel Vaculík (CZE) Ford F150 5 hrs 26 mins 45.3 s
7. Santiago Navarro (ESP)/Marc Sola (ESP) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 5 hrs 32 mins 07.8s
8. František Brutovsky (CZE)/Petr Hauptmann (CZE) Ford F150 Evo 5h38m01.9s
9. Jordi Segura (ESP)/Sergei Brugué (ESP) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 5 hrs 48 mins 45.4 secs
10. Bernt Hoffmann (DEU)/Juan Carlos Carignani (ITA) Can-Am X3 Turbo (T3) 5 hrs 50 mins 58.2 s
11. Christof Danner (AUT)/Herwig Rieger (AUT) Puch 46/G320 6 hrs 33 mins 25.1 s
12. Ricardo Ramilo Suarez (ESP)/Pedro Santos (PRT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 9 hr 56 min 34.9 sec
13. Lina van der Mars (DEU)/Giulia Maroni (ITA) Polaris Pro XP Turbo (T4) 11 hr 31 min 36.0 sec
14. Filipe Nascimento (PRT)/João Serodio (PRT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3) 24 hrs 15 mins 28.7 s
15. Adam Kus (POL)/Marcin Pasek (POL) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T4) 45 hrs 29 mins 22.3 secs
2022 FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas – Placements after Round 4 of 5 (unofficial) – Drivers:
1. Michal Maluszyński (POL) 88 points
2. João Ferreira (PRT) 85 points
3. Amerigo Ventura (ITA) 67 points
4.Santiago Navarro (ESP) 65 points
5. Pedro da Silva (PRT) 55 points
6. Benediktas Vanagas (LTU) 40 points etc.
More information on the event and the FIA websites.