Cross Country – Title fight heads to ‘The Valley of the Moon’ | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Cross Country – Title fight heads to ‘The Valley of the Moon’

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17.09.19

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan makes a welcome return to the world motor sport calendar to host the Jordan Baja (19-21 September), the seventh round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas. Based out of the Red Sea city of Aqaba, the route takes the contenders through the country’s southern desert around the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wadi Rum where stunning desert landscape, dramatic sandstone mountains, canyons, dunes and steep chasms have formed the backdrop to many a Hollywood blockbuster movie.

The penultimate round of the inaugural FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas - which now runs as a separate series to the longer Cross Country Rallies - heads from four European based events back to the Middle East and ‘The Valley of the Moon’, as this spectacular region is also known. The mighty landscape will host four selective sections, all of which run at an average altitude of 900 metres, and is set to epitomise the sense of adventure synonymous with cross country rallying.

With only Jordan and the final round in Portugal remaining, the scene is set, essentially, for a three-way fight for the title between Vladimir Vasilyev, Orlando Terranova and Jakub Przygoński. Having run as a candidate event in 2018 for this year’s FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas, regional crews took the honours last year. Therefore, there is no form book for the international crews heading to this new event on the World Cup calendar; the ability to quickly learn and adapt to the conditions is therefore sure to be crucial to success.

Vasilyev and co-driver Konstantin Zhiltsov currently lead the series standings courtesy of four podium positions from six events. The Russians head to Jordan in one of four Mini All4 Racings entered but just six points separate them from the chasing pack. Terranova and Ronnie Graue launched themselves onto the World Cup scene on the third round and three consecutive victories rocketed them to the top of the standings. Leaving the last round in Poland with no points however dropped the Argentineans into second and they have Przygoński and navigator Timo Gottschalk just 11 points further adrift. With all three crews in the same machinery for the penultimate round, the battle between the main title contenders is sure to be intriguing.

Renowned desert racer Khalid Al-Qassimi is also back in action for the first time since the Dubai International Baja, where he and French co-driver Xavier Panseri claimed second overall. The UAE driver, piloting a Peugeot 3008DKR, is also bound to be in the fight for outright victory. Saudi Arabia’s Yasir Seaidan will also be contesting his first Jordan Baja and he and co-driver Paulo Fiuza will be piloting the fourth Mini on the entry list.

The Trophy for T3 drivers continues to be hotly fought and Fedor Vorobyev, again co-driven by Kirill Shubin, is currently leading the pack in his Cam-Am Maverick X3 having racked up three category wins. The Russian heads Michele Cinotto, the Italian in Polaris machinery and 15 points adrift in the current standings. Romanian Claudiu Barbu, second in the T2 standings, will be looking to close the gap to Aldis Vilcans, the Latvian skipping this Middle Eastern event and potentially setting up another final round fight for the title.

PROVISIONAL RALLY DATA

Total distance   

762.68 km

Selective section distance:

504.62 km (51.3%)

Number of selective sections:

4

JORDAN BAJA – TIMETABLE & MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

Thursday 19 September

 

Scrutineering

From 08:00 hrs

SSS1 Aqaba (3 kilometres)

16:29 hrs

Leg 2 Starting Position selection

18:55 hrs

Press Conference, Ceremonial start ramp

19:30 hrs

First competitor on the start ramp

20:21 hrs

 

Friday 20 September

 

SS2 Salhiyah (211 kilometres)

08:42 hrs

First car arrives for remote service/regroup

12:37 hrs

SS3 Disi (79.77 kilometres)

14:32 hrs

First car arrives for final service, Aqaba

16:57 hrs

 

Saturday 21 September

 

SS4 Wadi Rum (210.85 kilometres)

10:19 hrs

First car arrives for final service

14:29 hrs

Prize-Giving ceremony, Aqaba City

From 16:30 hrs

Post event press conference, Rally HQ

18:45 hrs