Cross-Country - Everything to play for in the final desert stages | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Cross-Country - Everything to play for in the final desert stages

14.12.20

The final and decisive round of the 2020 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas will take place between December 14-16 with titles set to be decided across all categories.

Following the successful running of the first of two back-to-back Bajas in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the two selective sections of Baja Hail II now host the ultimate fight for honours where points permutations are aplenty.

After his fifth position in the first Baja Hail I, Vladimir Vasilyev has narrowly inched into the lead in the World Cup standings ahead of Bernhard Ten Brinke, who is seeking a maiden title. The rivals are split by just half a point with the title decider to run.

However, with some of the sport’s other leading contenders using the Saudi Arabian Baja events as their final preparation for the forthcoming Dakar Rally, a total of seven crews are now, mathematically, in contention. Behind Vasilyev and Ten Brinke, Nasser Al-Attiyah’s victory and maximum leg points in Baja Hail I have catapulted him and navigator Mathieu Baumel into third in the standings, 15 points adrift of Vasilyev.

Denis Krotov’s third position overall in Baja Russia - Northern Forest earlier this year, along with points for seventh in Baja Hail I, put him fourth in the overall standings a further seven points adrift. T4 driver Aron Domzala is an outsider in less powerful machinery, but the Pole could yet claim an impressive position in the outright World Cup classification. Top three positions in Baja Hail I for Carlos Sainz and team-mate Stéphane Peterhansel have also put the MINI drivers and their co-drivers in with a chance of the title, leaving everything to play for in the desert.

In the T3 category, Vasily Gryazin looks to be the favourite for the drivers’ title but with the Russian having to drop one of his scores in the final classification, he will be fighting hard against title rivals Saleh Abdullah Alsaif and Guillaume de Mévius.

T4 is even closer with Aron Domzala and Kees Koolen going into the final event now three points apart. Dutchman Koolen scored a near maximum haul of points in Baja Hail I to close the gap from 14 points, resulting in a winner-takes-all scenario on Baja Hail II. The Teams titles - overall and in T4 - will also be decided in Saudi Arabia. All standings remain unofficial, following final confirmation by the FIA.

BAJA HAIL II - PROVISIONAL RALLY DATA

Total distance:

855.05 km

Selective section distance:

491.86 km

Number of selective sections:

2

 

TIMETABLE & MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

Monday December 14

 

Scrutineering

From 10:00 hrs

 

Tuesday December 15

 

Start of SS1 (311.57 km)

09:07 hrs

First car arrives at the bivouac

14:39 hrs

 

Wednesday November 16

 

Start of SS2 (180.29 km)

10:02 hrs

First car arrives at the bivouac

13:16 hrs

Podium & prize-giving (Baja Hail I and II)

15:00 hrs

Post event press conference

18:00 hrs