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Cross-Country – Ten Brinke/Colsoul claim victory in Portugal

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The Toyota Hilux Overdrive crew of Bernhard Ten Brinke and Tom Colsoul won a rain-soaked and truncated Baja Portalegre 500 today, the third round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas. The Dutch/Belgian pairing clawed their way from third overnight to take their first series win of the season. Guillaume de Mévius and Martijn Wydaeghe took a highly impressive second overall in their Can-Am Maverick X3 while Vladimir Vasilyev and Dmitro Tsyro climbed from seventh to take the final podium position.

The 34th edition of the Baja Portalegre 500, staged to the east of central Portugal, proved to be one of the trickiest in its long history. Friday’s opening day of competition was characterised by persistent heavy rain, mud and overflowing river crossings and ultimately the second 75 kilometre section had to be abandoned due to the deteriorating conditions. Saturday’s action was also shortened and, of the two stages scheduled to run, only SS4 at 79 kilometres was contested.

Ten Brinke and Colsoul took third position in the short qualifying stage on Friday morning and maintained that position after selective section two, where just nine cars completed the stage and the remaining crews were allocated notional times. Just over three minutes adrift of the lead this morning, the Hilux Overdrive pairing remarkably set equal fastest time in SS4 to claim victory by one minute 17.1 seconds.

Conditions clearly suited de Mévius and Wydaeghe, the Belgians powering their Cam-Am Maverick X3 through the mud-strewn stages. The duo, who were second overall through the qualifying stage, elected to start third on the road for SS2 and claimed not only the stage win but took the outright overnight lead by nearly three minutes in their less powerful T3 machinery. Today, the pair had a steady run through the final stage to claim second overall and first in the T3 category.

Vasilyev and Tsyro were competing in a Mini Cooper Countryman for the first time this season. The Russians won the qualifying stage but it was a different story in SS2 where they finished seventh and four minutes 24.1 seconds adrift of the overall lead. Today, however, the crew claimed equal fastest time with Ten Brinke to power into the final podium position a mere 3.1 seconds adrift of de Mévius.

Aron Domzała and Marciel Marton also impressed in their T4 Can-Am. The Poles took the category lead in the qualifying stage and built a massive advantage in the second section with another T4 stage win. In the final stage their lead was sufficient to maintain position and not only win the category but claim a fine fourth in the general classification.

Vasily Gryazin and Oleg Uperenko finished fifth and second in T3 in more Can-Am machinery. The Russian/Latvian pair were never outside the top four in the category and their final stage win secured impressive points at the mid-point of the season. They finished nearly five minutes ahead of the leading Portuguese crew of Alejandro Martins/José Marques in a Mini John Cooper Works Rallye.

Newly-crowned national cross-country champion, Miguel Barbosa, has been a regular front-runner on his home round of the series, having won on three previous occasions. However, he and co-driver Pedro Velosa were unable to finish the second selective section having lost the power steering on their Hilux Overdrive. The T2 category win was taken by fellow countrymen João Ferreira/David Monteiro in a Nissan Pathfinder.

The final two rounds of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas take place consecutively in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (December 10-12 and December 14-16).

Baja Portalegre 500 – Final Classification


Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

2hr 18min 11.0sec


Guillaume de Mévius/Martijn Wydaeghe

Can-Am Maverick X3

2hr 19min 28.1sec


Vladimir Vasilyev/Dmitro Tsyro

Mini Cooper Countryman

2hr 19min 31.3sec


Aron Domzała/Marciel Marton

Can-Am Maverick

2hr 21min 01.0sec


Vasily Gryazin/Oleg Uperenko

Can-Am Maverick X3

2hr 22min 05.8sec


Alejandro Martins/José Marques

Mini JCW Rallye

2hr 27min 03.0sec


Laurent Poletti/Cyril Debet

Can-Am Maverick X3

2hr 32min 00.1sec


Alexandre Ré/Pedro Ré

Can-Am Maverick

2hr 35min 01.0sec


Luis Recuenco/Sergio Peinado Jimenez

Mini JCW Rallye

2hr 36min 21.6sec


Victor Conceição/Valeria Geo

Mini All 4 Racing

2hr 37min 13.4sec