– Seventh place for Krzysztof Holowczyc
– Heavy rain makes for difficult conditions
Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) and his new co-driver Edouard Boulanger (FRA) took victory at the Baja Poland in their MINI ALL4 Racing. Krzysztof Holowczyc and Lukas Kurzeja (both POL) finished seventh in their home race in a MINI John Cooper Works Rally. Michal Maluszynski and Julita Maluszynski also achieved a great result in the MINI JCW Rally: the Polish couple, who competed under their own licence, secured third place. The Baja Poland marks the resumption of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas after a seven-month break due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And it was a successful return to action for X-raid: as well as victory, the team also won four of the seven stages. Holowczyc was fastest on three occasions, with Peterhansel coming out on top once.
The decisive moment came on stage three on Saturday afternoon. Heavy rainfall meant much of the route was under water. Many competitors struggled with the conditions and the resulting technical issues. Peterhansel coped best and set by far the fastest time, which also saw him take the overall lead. In contrast, the sheer amount of water caused alternator issues for Holowczyc, who had led up to that point. The Pole lost a lot of time and fell back to seventh place overall.
Sunday featured a further four stages. However, with two of them just 10 kilometres in length and two 17-kilometre routes, there was little time to make up lost ground. As the muddy surface meant that any mistake could prove very costly, Peterhansel took a more cautious approach. His strategy paid off – the Frenchman was unable to add another stage win, but did successfully secure overall victory. Holowczyc, on the other hand, was determined to show what he and his MINI JCW Rally were capable of and won two of the four stages and finished second twice.
Stéphane Peterhansel: « I am very happy about this victory, especially since it was also my first rally with Edouard. The conditions were very difficult on Saturday – lots of water and mud. I saw a few rivals who had come to a standstill with issues out on the route. We were very careful, but it was not easy. »
Krzysztof Holowczyc: « The morning stage went very well for us. Unfortunately, we then had issues with the electrics on the third stage. There was simply too much water on the route. Nobody had reckoned with it raining quite so much. Sunday was just about getting some good results on the individual stages. »
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
Press Release X-Raid Racing,