Large-scale operation for the Monster Energy X-raid Team and Team X-raid in the Baja Aragon, held not far from Teruel. The Trebur based team is going to contest the three-day event with a total of six MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles. It goes without saying that contesting this Baja in front of his home crowd represents a must for Dakar winner and Monster Energy X-raid Team driver Nani Roma who will share the cockpit – as usual – with his French navigator Michel Périn. For Argentina’s Orlando Terranova, the Baja Aragon will be his first off-road event after having finished fifth in the 2014 Dakar. He will be teamed-up with the Spanish co-driver Moi Torrallardona.
At the same time, things begin to get serious for Team X-raid and their Russian pairing Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov: the Baja Aragon represents the sixth of ten FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup rounds and currently, Vasilyev holds a 39-point lead over Toyota’s Saudi Arabian Yazeed Al Rahji. In a Baja, the winner is rewarded with 30 points!
Young Pole Martin Kaczmarski who convinced by finishing ninth in the Dakar also is going to contest in Spain with a new co-driver in his passenger seat: Finland’s Tapio Suominen. Having finished third in the Pharaons Rally in Egypt, the Dutch pairing Erik van Loon / Wouter Rosegaar also will race in Spain and hopes for securing another podium. For Kazakh Aidyn Rakhimbayev and his Russian co-driver Anton Nikolaev it will be the second rally they are going to race with the MINI ALL4 Racing. In the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, they came 10th. The combination of short but demanding legs and high temperatures has turned the Baja Aragon into one of the most popular short events on the World Cup calendar. It will be kicked off on Friday with a 7km ‘Super Special’ to determine the starting order for the coming day. Both on Saturday and Sunday, the competitors will have to contest two special stages, featuring distances of 103 and 248 kilometres respectively.
“Contesting a home race always is something very special”, says Roma. “The 2009 Baja Spain was the first rally I did for X-raid – and I won it right away. Last year, it also was a trouble-free event, for me. Now I’m coming home with the Dakar win and it goes without saying that I once again want to win.”
“The rest of this year’s FIA World Cup calendar features just one of the long desert rallies where you can score double points – but four Bajas,” says Vasilyev. “We currently hold the championship lead and it certainly is my goal to increase my lead as far as possible. But on the other hand, we shouldn’t take too many risks as this could result in losing valuable points, in the end.”
“Just as we did last year, we are going to once again contest the event with six vehicles,” says Team Manager Sven Quandt. “As the time allowed for working on the cars before they have to be taken to the Parc Fermé is extremely limited, this kind event represents a challenge for the entire team. The mechanics have to work quickly and the drivers have to go easy on their cars. At the same time, Vladimir must focus on finishing the coming events without encountering any problems to constantly make it to the points.”