– South Racing Can-Ams seal first, second and third places in new T4 section in Poland
– Michal Goczal wins National T4 section and leads Polish National Championship
The South Racing Can-Am Team returned to FIA World Cup Cross-Country rallying action for the first time in over six months with four Can-Am Maverick X3s entered in Baja Poland, round two of the revised and shortened 2020 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.
The first event in the calendar since February’s Baja Russia Northern Forest Rally ran in inclement weather conditions over three days near the town of Szczecin in northern Poland. Spaniard Gerard Farrés drove the Monster Energy-backed Can-Am Maverick X3, while Pole Aron Domzala and Dutchman Kees Koolen ran South Racing Can-Ams and Michal Goczal was entered in T4 in the National category with a fourth South Racing Can-Am.
Domzala snatched the lead in the FIA T4 category on the first of the longer selective sections through the military training grounds on Saturday morning and was never troubled from then on. He and navigator Szymon Gospodarczyk swapped stage times with many of their more powerful T1 rivals.
They reached the finish in Szczecin in a superb fourth overall and over three hours clear of Farrés and fellow Spaniard Armand Monleón in the T4 section after Farrés suffered time-consuming technical issues. The Spanish duo finished second in T4, while Koolen and Belgian co-driver Serge Bruynkens were third in category and 11th overall after losing time with second day electrical issues.
Polish driver Michal Goczal and Kamil Heller drove a South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 to a dominant victory in the National T4 category, while the Russian driver Vasily Gryazin and Latvian navigator Oleg Uperenko won the FIA T3 section in a Can-Am Maverick X3 run by the Sport Racing Technologies (SRT) Team and utilising a South Racing-built chassis.
South Racing Can-Am Team’s Scott Abraham said: « This was a great result for the team with first, second and third in T4. This is the first race for the new T4 category, which is the new Side-by-Side category and the new platform moving forward for Dakar. It is a good step.
« Aron drove a really good race in very difficult conditions. Unfortunately, Gerard had delays with a radiator issue and electrical issues yesterday sidelined Kees (Koolen) but he came back strong today. Also, in the Polish National Championship, the National T4 Can-Am driver Michal Goczal extended his lead in the championship.
« Also, congratulations to Vitaly Gryazin and the SRT Team for taking the T3 victory with a South Racing Can-Am chassis. It was an excellent debut race for them. It’s great to be back racing and we leave Poland full of confidence and looking forward to the next FIA Baja event. »
Polish action began with a super special stage of 7.33km in close proximity to the host city of Szczecin on Friday evening. Farres set the target time of 8min 03sec for his rivals in the T4 category and that was sufficient for the Spaniard to seal the fastest time and an outright overnight lead of 23 seconds over Dutchman Kees Koolen. Domzala was third in the category.
Two selective sections of 172.31km apiece was the order of the day for Saturday and provided the meat of the action for competitors over challenging off-road terrain at Drawsko Pomorskie. Domzala stormed into contention with an excellent stage time of 2hr 37min 22sec and he was never troubled over the subsequent four shorter specials that passed between Lubieszyn, Dobra and Szczecin on Sunday.
Action in the shortened FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas resumes in Portugal at the start of November.
2020 Baja Poland – final positions:
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Edouard Boulanger (FRA) MINI All4 Racing, 5hr 52min 20sec
2. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NLD)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) Toyota Hilux Overdrive, 6hr 05min 08sec
3. Michal Maluszyński (POL)/Julita Maluszyńska (POL) MINI John Cooper Works Rally, 6hr 15min 24sec
4. Aron Domzala (QAT)/Szymon Gospodarcznk (POL) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T4), 6hr 17min 02sec
5. Jakub Przygonski (POL)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Toyota Hilux Overdrive, 6hr 28min 12sec
6. Vasily Gryazin (RUS)/Oleg Uperenko (LVA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3), 6hr 28min 43sec
7. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL)/Lukasz Kurzeja (POL) MINI John Cooper Works Rally, 8hr 20min 53sec
8. Martin Prokop (CZE)/Viktor Chytka (CZE) Ford Raptor RS Cross-Country, 8hr 39min 57sec
9. Gerard Farrés (ESP)/Armand Monleón (ESP) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T4), 9hrs 28min 15sec
10. Patrycja Brochocka (POL)/Rafal Marton (POL) Toyota Land Cruiser VDJ200, 12hr 48min 00sec
11. Kees Koolen (NLD)/Serge Bruynkens (BEL) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T4), 13hr 25min 46sec…