Spanish newcomer marks the start of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Spanish newcomer marks the start of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies

11.05.21

The Andalucía Rally (May 12-16) heralds the start of the 2021 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies which, this year, has an expanded calendar and will take the contenders to new as well as more familiar territories for the seven round series.

Andalucía Rally runs for the second time and this year marks its debut in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, providing a fresh challenge for many of the crews on the impressive entry list of more than 80 competitors in the T1, T3 and T4 groups. Based around the bivouac at Hacienda El Rosalejo, near Villamartin in eastern Spain, the event takes in five selective sections covering 966 competitive kilometres over typical gravel Andalusian landscape.

Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Matthieu Baumel head the provisional entry list and the multiple title-winning duo return to Spain as the victors of the first running of the event in 2020. The Qatari/French crew, driving a Toyota Hilux Overdrive, will however face stiff competition from some of their closest rivals who also contested last year’s candidate event in anticipation of its inclusion in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.

Carlos Sainz, double FIA World Rally Champion and winner of the Dakar Rally on three occasions, also returns to the Andalucía Rally. The Spaniard, with Lucas Cruz alongside him in the MINI John Cooper Works Rally, narrowly lost out on the win last year by just over three minutes after nearly nine hours of competition and will doubtless be looking to add a home win to an already impressive list of victories.

Yazeed Al Rajhi got his cross-country campaign off to a great start this season with victory on the Dubai International Baja, the second round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas. The Saudi Arabian driver, navigated by Dirk von Zitzewitz, also stood on the 2020 Andalucía Rally podium last year with a fine third place and is sure to be back on the pace in another Hilux Overdrive.

Vladimir Vasilyev also had a good start to the season, winning the opening Northern Forest round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas in February. He and co-driver Alexey Kuzmich will be competing in their BMW X3 on the Andalucía Rally for the first time, hoping to kick start their Cross-Country Rally campaign in fine style.

Yasir Seaidan currently heads the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas courtesy of two wins from four events, and he and fellow Saudi Arabian co-driver Omar Allahim will doubtless be looking to better last year’s 10th place finish in Spain in their MINI John Cooper Works Rally. Erik van Loon and Sébastien Delaunay also return to the event as team-mates to Al Rajhi, and the Dutch/French pairing will be hoping for better luck after dropping way down the classification last year. A host of other strong contenders in T1 include Denis Krotov/Konstantin Zhiltsov in another MINI John Cooper Works Rally and the X-Raid crew of Mattias Ekström, 2016 FIA World Rallycross Champion, and Emil Bergkvist. Laia Sanz is also supporting her home round of the series and moves from her more regular T4 machinery into another X-Raid run T1 MINI All 4 Racing.

The T3 category has another impressive field with no fewer than 25 crews on the provisional entry list, while T4 has attracted 22 entrants to the opening round of the series. Kees Koolen, Aron Domzala and Khalifa Al Attiyah top the T4 entries, the trio finishing first, second and third respectively in last year’s FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.

RALLY DATA

Total distance   

1,566 km

Selective section distance:

966 (61.69%)

Number of selective sections:

5

 

LEADING ENTRIES

Nasser Al Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz

MINI John Cooper Works Rally

Yazeed Al Rajhi/Dirk von Zitzewitz

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

Vladimir Vasilyev/Alexey Kuzmich

BMW X3

Yasir Seaidan/Omar Allahim

MINI John Cooper Works Rally

Erik van Loon/Sébastien Delaunay

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

Denis Krotov/Konstantin Zhiltsov

MINI John Cooper Works Rally

Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist

MINI John Cooper Works Buggy

Zala Vaidotas/Paulo Fiuza

MINI John Cooper Works Rally

Martin Kaczmarski/Tapio Suominen

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

 

ANDALUCIA RALLY – TIMETABLE & MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

Tuesday May 11

 

Scrutineering    

From 08:15 hrs

 

Wednesday May 12 – Leg 1/1

 

Qualifying Stage (8 kilometres)

15:57 hrs

 

Thursday May 13 – Leg 1/2

 

Start of SS2 (206 kilometres)     

10:56 hrs

First car arrives bivouac              

15:37 hrs

 

Friday May 14 – Leg 2

 

Start of SS3 (271 kilometres)

11:26 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

16:51 hrs

 

Saturday May 15 – Leg 3

 

Start of SS4 (296 kilometres)     

11:26 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

16:51 hrs

                                          

Sunday May 16 – Leg 4

 

Start of SS5 (185 kilometres)     

10:56 hrs

First car arrives Parc Fermé        

15:14 hrs

Podium/Prize-Giving

20:30 hrs