Harry Hunt back in the driving seat for Baja Aragon, Spain

Harry Hunt back in the driving seat for Baja Aragon, Spain

22.07.2015: MINI UK Brand Ambassador Harry Hunt will be back in action this weekend at

MINI UK Brand Ambassador Harry Hunt will be back in action this weekend at the Baja Aragon Spain, soon after showing off his MINI ALL4 Racing to the crowds at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on the renowned hill climb route.

The Baja Aragon Spain, which is round six of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, will provide a slightly difference experience to the well-kept asphalt of Goodwood, but will certainly feature more similar terrain to Harry’s ultimate goal next year, the Dakar Rally.

The 26-year-old Briton made a fantastic debut in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge back in April, finishing in third position ahead of some of the most experienced names in the sport, despite completing less than 40 kilometres of testing in the desert before the start.

The Baja Aragon Spain is set in the twisting rural tracks of Eastern Spain and the competition starts on Friday with a timed 7.8-kilometre superspecial stage. However, the majority of the action takes place on Saturday, when competitors will tackle a 160-kilometre section between Calamocha and Calatayud, followed by a second 300-kilometre stage between Calatayud and Teruel.

On Sunday there will be a final 180-kilometre section between Calamocha and Teruel, with the ceremonial finish taking place in Teruel later in the afternoon. Ambient temperatures are expected to be high, meaning that the competitors will be put to the test as much as their vehicles.

Harry will be driving a MINI ALL4 Racing liveried with a distinctive Union Flag pattern and run by the famed X-Raid team, alongside co-driver Xavier Pansieri who finished third in the Dakar Rally this year. Before the start of the rally, they will complete a short test to reacclimatise themselves to the MINI on loose gravel.

Talking about this weekend’s event, Harry said: “I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel and driving competitively. Abu Dhabi was such a fantastic experience for me and I’m hoping I can emulate a similar level of success this weekend.

Baja Aragon Spain is a tough race with some very strong competition but I have a massive level of trust in my MINI, my co-driver and the entire team. All these experiences are providing me with fantastic insight and knowledge as to what the Dakar Rally is going to be like, and preparation is certainly the key to success.”

The stages on the Baja Aragon Spain are similar in nature to a World Rally Championship event, with tighter and more gravelly roads compared to the flat-out desert blasts and sand dunes found on other rounds of the Cross Country Championship. This should allow Harry to use the experience he has already gained competing in the WRC.

 A former frontrunner in the series, Mikko Hirvonen, will also be competing in a MINI in Spain, providing Harry with a useful benchmark as he continues to serve his apprenticeship as the youngest competitor in a factory car.

Harry was nominated as ‘Rookie of the Year’ in his first season of one-make world championship rallying four years ago, and then went on to win several international rally titles. He is based in London and his day-to-day transport is a MINI Countryman – the car on which Harry’s cross-country challenger is based.

But unlike the road car’s 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine that Harry uses around the streets of the English capital, the ALL4 variant puts out around 320 horsepower and an incredible 700Nm of torque.

Anthony Peacock-  also photos

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/harry-hunt-baja-aragon-spain-driving-seat---139090.html

22.07.2015 / MaP

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