– Tiago Reis, João Ramos and Miguel Barbosa finish second, third and sixth
The Portuguese duo of Tiago Reis and Valder Cardoso finished second overall in Portugal’s Baja TT Sharish Reguengos Mourão and leapt into contention for the Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ Championships with one round to run in this year’s FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.
Overdrive Racing staff supplied logistical and service support to three crews and Reis and Cardoso shadowed eventual winners, João Ferreira and Filipe Palmeiro, to the finish of the thee-day event to finish 1min 07.3sec adrift after 373.64 competitive kilometres.
João Ramos and Jorge Carvalho slipped to fourth at the start of the final day, after incurring a two-minute penalty for minor speeding offences, but the second of the Overdrive Racing-supported crews regained the time on the final stage to snatch the final podium spot. Ramos duly lost ground on Reis in a secondary battle for the local Portuguese Championship.
Ramos said: « We finished the race in third position but it was not an easy race for us. We catch one driver on the Prologue stage and we lost some time. It was hard for me because I am trying to fight for the local championship. I need all the points. After, we started the next stage third on the road and it was going well until I had a puncture. I also had a penalty. We missed the start of a speed control zone. I started in fourth today and my objective was to catch third position and that’s what we have done. It was a good start with my new co-driver. We have two more races and I am still in a fight for the championship. We will see… »
Time penalties pushed Miguel Barbosa and Tomás Neves down to eighth at the start of the final day in the third of the Toyotas but the Portuguese crew recovered strongly to finish sixth overall with the third quickest time on the final day.
The action got underway on Friday afternoon with a Prologue stage of 7.30km at Mourão and the three Overdrive Racing-supported Toyota crews opened their accounts strongly with the second, third and ninth quickest times, Reis leading the way in second behind stage winner João Ferreira and Barbosa coming home in third.
The first of two runs through a varied selective section of 183.17km was staged on Saturday afternoon between Mourão and Redondo. Reis became embroiled in a titanic tussle for the stage win with Ferreira and a mere 2.3 seconds separated the duo at the end of over two hours of racing with Ferreira increasing his overall advantage to just four seconds.
« It was a good fight with João Ferreira, » said co-driver Valter Cardoso. « We finished the stage only two seconds behind. We attacked a lot of points in the stage and we don’t have punctures. It was very fast tracks and it’s not a narrow track here in this Baja Reguengos. It’s good for T1+. »
Barbosa and Ramos were third and fourth quickest and held similar positions in the general classification until they were later penalised by race officials for minor speeding offences. A two-minute penalty dropped Ramos to fourth and a heavier six minutes pushed Barbosa down to eighth after that was added to two more he incurred for an accidental route infringement.
The 183.17km stage was repeated on Sunday lunchtime. Ferreira led from the outset with 1.8 seconds separating him from Reis after 60.86km. But the overnight leader held on over the closing kilometres to win the stage and confirm victory. Barbosa and Ramos came home in third and fourth to confirm third and sixth in the general classification.
The FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas concludes with Baja Troia Türkiye on October 20th-22nd.
Baja TT Sharish Reguengos Mourão – final result:
1. João Ferreira (PRT)/Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) Mini JCW Rally Plus, 4hr 53min 27.8sec
2. Tiago Reis (PRT)/Valter Cardoso (PRT) Toyota Hilux Overdrive, 4hr 54min 35.1sec
3. João Ramos (PRT)/Jorge Carvalho (PRT) Toyota Hilux Overdrive, 5hr 04min 56.4sec
4. João Dias (PRT)/João Miranda (PRT) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3), 5hr 05min 38.5sec
5. Alejandro Martins (PRT)/José Marques (PRT) Mini JCW Rally, 5hr 09min 24.5sec
6. Miguel Barbosa (PRT)/Tomás Neves (PRT) Toyota Hilux Overdrive, 5hr 09min 53.3sec
7. Armindo Araújo (PRT)/Luis Ramalho (PRT) Can-Am Maverick X3, (T3) 5hr 09min 59.8sec
8. Ghislain de Mevius (BEL)/Johan Jalet (BEL) G Rally Team OT3 (T3), 5hr 11min 51.9sec
9. Nuno Madeira (PRT)/José Janela (PRT) Ford Ranger, 5hr 17min 18.5sec
10 Fidel Castillo Ruiz (ESP)/Marc Solá (ESP) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR (T4), 5hr 19min 48.4sec
(T1 or T1+ unless stated)