Overdrive Racing will be one of the largest teams entered in this week’s Italian Baja, round one of the 2013 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, and the Villers-le-Bouillet-based team will field four Toyota Hiluxes in the three-day event in northern Italy. The event starts in Pordonone on Friday, March 15th and finishes on Sunday, March 17th.
The Venezuelan duo of Nunzio Coffaro and Daniel Meneses, who finished 20th overall in January’s Dakar Rally, are joined in Italy by their Polish Dakar team mates, Adam Malysz and Rafal Marton, who finished 15th in South America.
The Brazilian pairing of Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin drive the third Belgian-built Hilux on the Pordonone-based rally and fellow Russian team debutants, Ruslan Misikov and Sergey Lebedev, complete the multi-national Overdrive Racing line-up in the four V8-powered T1 Toyotas.
Overdrive has been hard at work preparing the four Hiluxes for the race as well as building two new Hiluxes for Imre Fodor and Artur Muraskin. In addition to preparations for Italy, the team had to prepare and ship the two assistance trucks that will be used on the two Middle East rounds of the FIA World Cup, where Overdrive Racing will field five Hiluxes.
“We are delighted to be running four cars in the Italian Baja,” said Overdrive team manager Jean-Marc Fortin. “After our successful Dakar Rally, it is nice to be back in competition and the objective here is to welcome our two new drivers, Reinaldo and Ruslan, to the team and to try and place as many of our cars as we can in the top five at the finish on Sunday.”
Race officials received a capacity entry of over 100 vehicles in various classes for the popular and traditional opening round of the FIA World Cup and there will be plenty of top level drivers to offer competition to the Overdrive quartet.
The weekend’s timetable gets underway with scrutineering on Thursday afternoon and this is followed by a timed 8km super special stage for the cars from 15.45hrs on Friday, March 15th.
Action resumes on Saturday morning (March 16th) with the start of the first of three Mosaico selective sections at 08.30hrs. The stage is then repeated at 13.20hrs and 15.30hrs.
Two runs through the Rauscedo special follow on Sunday at 10.45hrs and 14.15hrs before the prize giving ceremony takes place at Fiera Pordonone at 17.00hrs.
The special is approximately 80km long and runs along dirt roads around Zoppolo, San Giorgio della Richinvelda and Spilimbergo and includes sections in the dried river beds of the Cosa and Tagliamento rivers.