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Poland's Przygonski maintains slender advantage in gruelling Jordan Baja

Poland's Przygonski maintains slender advantage in gruelling Jordan Baja

20.09.2019: FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas Ė round 7 September 19-21, 2019 Friday, September 20th, 2019 Polandís Jakub Przygonski and German co-driver Timo Gottschalk stayed clear of serious navigation mistakes and overcame the punishing desert heat


FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas – round 7
September 19-21, 2019
Friday, September 20th, 2019



Poland’s Jakub Przygonski and German co-driver Timo Gottschalk stayed clear of serious navigation mistakes and overcame the punishing desert heat and everything that Wadi Rum could throw at them to hold an overall lead of 2min 13sec after three stages of the Jordan Baja.
 


The Mini All4 Racing crew finished second on the morning’s longer special and won the shorter afternoon section to keep their hopes of winning the inaugural FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas alive. “This stage was better. We focused on the navigation and we did it without big mistakes. The track was nice and we were pushing,” said the defending FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies champion.
 


Vladimir Vasilyev began the second of the day’s stages in third overall and the second quickest time on the Disi test moved the Russian up to a similar position in the rankings at the night halt and within striking distance of his Polish rivals with one long stage to run.
 


Orlando Terranova led outright after the Al-Salhiyah test but lost time with an early navigational error in the afternoon and that proved decisive. The Argentine reached the end of the leg in third overall, 3min 22sec off the lead, and needing to push hard on Saturday to try and pass series leader Vasilyev.
 


Abu Dhabi Racing’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi held fifth after the first stage of the day in his Peugeot 3008 DXR, but a time-consuming navigational error cost him several minutes in Disi, but the Emirati moved up to fourth overall.
 


Saudi Arabia’s Yasir Seaidan was fifth in the last of the Mini All4 Racings, despite complaining that the suspension was too hard for the rocky terrain and losing time with a damaged bearing.
 


Russia’s Fedor Vorobyev dominated the duel with Italy’s Michele Cinotto for T3 Trophy honours. The Can-Am driver had a massive lead after the first stage and reached the end of the day in sixth overall with a handsome T3 advantage of 1hr 02min 05sec over the Italian.
 


Hungary’s Balazs Szalay was seventh in his Opel Grandland X, Guy Bitton was eighth and Mohammed Al-Twijri and Cinotto rounded off the top 10.
 


In the T2 battle, Romania’s Claudiu Barbu failed to start the second stage after early delays and Saudi Arabia’s Muneef Al-Salmani was running well behind the leaders in his Nissan Patrol.
 


Jordan’s Ata Al-Hmoud led the motorcycle category for long sections of the opening stage, but the Beta 480 rider crashed towards the end of the Al-Salhiyah test.
 


Dubai’s Mohammed Al-Balooshi took up the reins to claim the stage win and he romped to another success in the Disi section to open up a massive advantage of 42min 42sec at the end of the leg, despite getting lost himself near the end of the stage.
 


Al-Balooshi said: “Really good in the beginning. But I lost my way after the big down slope at km70. I made a navigational error and spent maybe 20 minutes. All that I did was gone. I hope it is not so much of damage. I made one mistake and it cost me all that time. To make it in one piece, I am happy.”
 


Abdullah Al-Shatti, Sultan Al-Balooshi and Abdullah Abu Aisheh were all badly delayed by navigational mistakes in the second stage. Abu Aisheh recovered better than his rivals to finish the stage in second, but Al-Shatti of Kuwait holds second overall. Sultan Al-Balooshi is third and Abu Aisheh is the top Jordanian in fourth.
 


All six of the entrants in the Jordan National Baja went over their permitted time limits attempting to complete the opening stage.
 





Friday – as it happened
 



Motorcycles tackled the first of the day’s two selective sections through Wadi Rum before the cars. First on the agenda was the stunning Salhiyah section of 211km and that preceded a remote service and regroup and a second stage further north of 79.77km.
 


Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Twijri was given the unenviable task of opening the road for the FIA category, followed by Al-Qassimi and Vasilyev. Super special winner Przygonski opted for a starting position of six.
 


Ata Al-Hmoud took the motorcycle fight to his GCC rivals and was leading the group through the opening exchanges with Mohammed and Sultan Al-Balooshi in pursuit. Abdullah Abu Aishah and Hamzeh Al-Zawahreh lost time after navigational errors, as Al-Qassimi began to pass the motorcycle stragglers with Vasilyev and Terranova running in second and third with the route skirting close to the border with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
 


Al-Hmoud continued to stay slightly ahead of his rivals but the pack closed in and Mohammed Al-Balooshi claimed the stage win to take an outright lead of 7min 07sec over Al-Shatti.
 


Ongoing navigational woes cost Al-Zawahreh more time and Al-Hmoud lost his way on the run in to the finish, crashed and slipped 34 minutes behind the leader and into fourth place.
 


Stage winner Al-Balooshi said: “
I did not expect it to be this difficult. It was really like a proper cross-country stage. I thought it was a Baja race. It is a good training for the Dakar. Two stages to go, but I need to improve my navigation.”
 


Vasilyev had overtaken Al-Qassimi with over 100km to go and headed through the special pursued by Terranova and the Abu Dhabi driver. The Argentine managed to catch his title rival over the closing kilometres, despite a puncture, and the stage win gave the Mendoza driver a lead of 2min 12sec over the Russian and an advantage of 1min 26sec over runner-up Przygonski. The Pole lost time with a navigational error near the end.
 


Al-Qassimi and Seaidan were fourth and fifth, but there were big time losses early in the stage for Kuwait’s Meshari Al-Thefiri.
 


Terranova said: “The scenery was amazing. The landscapes are nice but we were lost so many times. We get a puncture at the end and we drove slowly to get to the finish.”
 


Khalid Al-Qassimi added: “It was a tough morning. We had to open the road and we lost the right track at the beginning and we were parallel to the main track, but we could not go back because we saw the other cars. There was a big wadi and we had to continue driving until we could rejoin.


I don’t know how much time we lost there. Then it was fine, but we got disorientated in the middle of the stage. There were bushes and trees and it took a while to get our bearings where we were going. Otherwise it was fine.”
 


Vorobyev was the fastest of the rest in sixth place and first in T3 in his Can-Am with Bitton and Szalay rounding off the top eight. The Russian also managed to surge into a 56min 29sec lead over T3 title rival Cinotto.
 


Action resumed with a 79.77km Disi stage in the afternoon and temperatures had already climbed into the high thirties Centigrade. Mohammed Al-Balooshi stormed off into the distance, as Al-Shatti made a navigational error and Aisheh and Sultan Al-Balooshi followed the Kuwaiti into the wilderness. 
 


The Jordanian managed to find the correct track and began to pursue the leader, but his two rivals headed back in the wrong direction and haemorrhaged heaps of time as a result. They got lost yet again soon afterwards and slipped even further behind Al-Balooshi.
 


Vasilyev maintained a good rhythm and stayed clear of navigational errors during the opening kilometres, but both Al-Qassimi and Terranova took the wrong route and the Argentine regained the track before his Abu Dhabi rival.
 


The Russian eventually set the target stage time of 54min 49sec, but that was eclipsed by Przygonski’s run of 53min 21sec, as the Pole regained the outright lead he had held at the start of the morning and Terranova slipped to third place.
 



Saturday
 



Competitors will tackle one selective section of 210.85km through Wadi Rum with the first bike on stage from 09.25hrs and the first car scheduled to start at 10.19hrs.
 


The ceremonial finish will then take place in the Aqaba service park from 17.21hrs onwards.
 



- Neil  Perkins, photos Jordan Motorsport
 

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/poland-przygonski-advantage-jordan-baja---197669.html

20.09.2019 / MaP

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