– Sousa, Akeel and Alvarez finish second, third and fourth in FIA T3 category
The South Racing Can-Am Team’s Cristiano de Sousa Batista, co-driven by Portuguese co-driver Fausto Moto, extended his lead in the T4 category of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas with a convincing victory at the Columna Medica Baja Poland.
The Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR driver dominated the five-stage event, winning the Prologue and three of the demanding selective sections, to seal victory over closest title rival Jeremie Warnia by 8min 35.4sec. De Sousa Batista said: « The finish of this Baja and we win the race. We hope to do the same in Portalegre and validate (win) the World Championship. »
South Racing Can-Am crews also enjoyed success in the FIA T3 category for lightweight prototype cross-country vehicles with Brazilian racer Otavio Sousa, Saudi female Dania Akeel and Argentina-based Spaniard Fernando Alvarez finishing second, third and fourth behind category winner and series leader Meshari Al-Thefiri in his South Racing-built Can-Am. The three South Racing Can-Am drivers were partnered by João Ferreira, Taye Perry and Xavier Panseri, respectively.
South Racing Can-Am Team’s managing director Scott Abraham said: « A great Baja Poland for the South Racing Can-Am Team with a victory for Cristiano Batista and Fausto Moto to extend their lead in the T4 World Championship. In T3, it was another strong performance from the South Racing Can-Ams with the race won by a South Racing-built Can-Am.
« It was a good second place in T3 for Otavio Sousa after an accident and a roll on Saturday. Dania Akeel finished third and Fernando Alvarez was fourth after a mechanical issue on the first of the two stages today.
« Now we look forward to the next round of the FIA World Cup in Portugal in October. That will be a hard-fought event with a lot of local competitors. The South Racing Can-Am Team’s focus shifts to the Desafio Ruta 40, the next round of the W2RC, taking place this week in Argentina. »
Competitive action gets underway with a Prologue of 5.80km in Szczecin on Friday afternoon and this preceded two demanding selective sections of 156.94km apiece through the demanding military proving grounds at Drawsko Pomorskie on Saturday.
De Sousa Batista made a superb start and the third fastest time gave the Brazilian the advantage in T4 and a place in the top three after the Prologue. In T3, the stage win fell to Al-Thefiri, with Akeel, Alvarez and Sousa running in second, third and fourth positions in the group.
Both Al-Thefiri and De Sousa Batista extended their leads in T3 and T4 through the opening selective section on a sandy track where Sousa and Alvarez came home in second and third in T3 but Akeel dropped around half an hour and slipped to the foot of the rankings.
Akeel recovered strongly on the second pass through the military proving grounds to set the third quickest time in T3 behind Al-Thefiri and Sousa, with De Sousa Batista coming home in third in T4 but retaining the overall advantage after he stopped to offer assistance to his son Otavio Sousa who had damaged his Can-Am’s front suspension after an accident.
Competition reaches a conclusion with two passes through a shorter 26.27km between Pilchowo and Dobra on Sunday morning.
Fastest times on both runs earned De Sousa Batista the win in T4, while Sousa was quicker than Al-Thefiri in T3 on both passes, where Akeel and Alvarez had a third quickest time apiece and Akeel managed to pass the Spaniard after he suffered a technical issue on the first stage of the morning.
The South Racing Can-Am Team receives valuable support for the race programme from Method Wheels, Tensor Tires, Motul, Jjuan Brake Systems and Sparco.
The next round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas is the 37th Baja Portalegre in Portugal on October 26th-28th.
Columna Medica Baja Poland – FIA T3 standings:
1. Meshari Al-Thefiri (KWT)/Oriol Vidal (ESP) Can-Am Maverick X3, 4hr 34min 23.6sec
2. Otavio Sousa (BRA)/João Ferreira (PRT) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3, 4hr 45min 43.4sec
3. Dania Akeel (SAU)/Taye Perry (DEU) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3, 5hr 13min 07.5sec
4. Fernando Alvarez (ESP)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3, 5hr 23min 04.5sec
5. Tomas Mickus (LTU)/Darius Leskauskas (LTU) Can-Am Maverick X3, 8hr 11min 27.3sec
Column Medica Baja Poland – FIA T4 standings:
1. Cristiano Batista (BRA)/Fausto Mota (PRT) South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR, 4hr 46min 52.1sec
2. Jeremie Warnia (FRA)/Loic Minaudier (FRA) Polaris RZR Pro R Sport, 4hr 55min 27.5sec
3. Ricardo Ramilo Suarez (ESP)/Dmytro Tsyro (UKR) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR, 5hr 03min 46.3sec
4. Francisco Rodriguez (ESP)/Luis Perez Curbelo (ESP) Yamaha YXZ 1000 R, 6hr 05min 17.7sec
5. Krzysztof Wicentowicz (POL)/Grzegorz Komar (POL) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR, 10hr 06min 40.5sec
6. Patrycja Brochocka (POL)/Karolina Zysnarska (POL) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR, 11hr 21min 49.1sec