This page contains archived information and may not display perfectly

Cross Country – Fight for the inaugural Baja title goes to the wire in Portugal

  • fr
  • es

After a sensational victory on the Jordan Baja, the MINI crew of Jakub Przygonski and Timo Gottschalk put themselves firmly back in the title fight and ignited a close three-way battle for honours on the final round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas.

After seven events across Europe and the Middle East, the fight for the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas title reaches its climax on Baja Portalegre 500 (24-26 October). The three-way battle could barely be closer with the crews split by just three points as they head into the 33rd edition of the event and final round of this year’s series.

Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov head the standings on 112 points, the Russians benefitting from consistency throughout the season. Despite not taking a win so far, the 2014 winners of the previously combined rally and baja series have been on the podium on five of the seven events and never outside the top five. They will lead the crews over the start ramp in their Toyota Hilux Overdrive.

Orlando Terranova and Ronnie Graue are a mere one point adrift after claiming three victories and a second position from the five events they have contested. MINI John Cooper Works Rally team-mates Jakub Przygoński and Timo Gottschalk lay third in the standings, the Polish/German pairing two points further behind. After trailing their rivals, victory on the inaugural Jordan Baja in September put them right back in the title fight and Przygoński, who holds the current combined rally and baja title, will be looking to secure his third win of the season to potentially take a title for the second consecutive year.

Behind the title contenders, Nani Roma is no stranger to the top step of the Portuguese podium, the Spaniard - co-driven by Alex Haro last year - winning the event outright. This year he teams up with Dani Oliveras and he will be making his second cross country outing of the season in the new Borgward in which he will contest the Dakar. A second Borgward will also be out on the stages in the hands of Ricardo Porém, the Portuguese a four-time winner of the event between 2014 and 2017.

Paulo Rui Ferreira and Jorge Monteiro finished a fine third on their home event last year and the battle for national honours is likely to involve them and the 2018 Off Road Champions João Ramos/Victor Jesus, both in Toyota Hilux machinery. Nuno Matos/Joel Lutas and Miguel Barbosa/Pedro Velosa are two more top seeded national entries in the FIA category, Barbosa himself a three-time event winner.

The T3 Trophy for Drivers will also be fought out on the Portuguese stages. Fedor Vorobyev heads the category by 22 points over Italy’s Michele Cinotto, courtesy of four victories in his Can-Am Maverick X3 this year. Cinotto must win to have any chance of taking the Trophy. Nine crews have entered in T2, however the title has already provisionally been secured by Aldis Vilcans, the Latvian winning when closest rival Claudiu Barbu was forced to retire on the final section in Jordan. 


Total distance   

766.57 km

Selective section distance:

508.10 km (66.3%)

Number of selective sections:




Thursday 24 October



From 10:00 hrs

SSS reconnaissance

From 10:00 hrs

Ceremonial start, Portalegre

21:30 hrs


Friday 25 October


SSS1 (5.35 kilometres)

10:30 hrs

Regroup, Ponte de Sor

11:45 hrs

Section 3 Starting Position selection

13:00 hrs

SS2 (99.22 kilometres)

15:15 hrs

First car arrives for final service

16:50 hrs


Saturday 26 October


SS3 (191.75 kilometres)

07:50 hrs

First car arrives for service and regroup

10:45 hrs

SS4 (211.78 kilometres)

13:45 hrs

First car arrives at the finish

16:45 hrs

Podium and Prize-Giving ceremony

17:45 hrs

Post event press conference

18:30 hrs