The one and only Cross Country World Event held on Portuguese ground started today. The 17th Baja Vodafone 1000, organized by Clube Aventura, started with an 11 km Prologue drawn in the vicinities of the city of Ã‰vora. The national Cross...
The one and only Cross Country World Event held on Portuguese ground started today. The 17th Baja Vodafone 1000, organized by Clube Aventura, started with an 11 km Prologue drawn in the vicinities of the city of Évora.
The national Cross Country Champion, Miguel Barbosa, driving a Mitsubishi Strakar, was the swiftest, showing superiority even over the surprising Luís Costa who, almost making a habit of it, showed once more all his fast-driving abilities in this kind of special stages. In third place ended the 2003 World Cup Winner, Carlos Sousa, making his debut on the Mitsubishi Pajero Evo, with a result revealing some lack of easiness with the new car.
At the end of this initial course, which served as an appetizer to a round predictably full of thrills with healthy competition from start to finish, the drivers were generally happy with the results. However, no one forgot the fact that the worst was yet to come and that everything will be at stake through the two hard stages to be held until Sunday.
The winner, Miguel Barbosa, said "the Prologue was quite fast, with a very interesting and well planed layout, but didn't allow to much risk because of some more dangerous points. We attacked all we could on the places we felt it was safe, always with some margin not to compromise the result and ended doing a good time".
On the other hand, Luís Costa admitted being "quite surprised with this result. I knew that I could gain some time in the beginning but by the end of stage, which was very fast, it would prove very hard to maintain some of my initial advantage. Everything went perfectly and after aiming for a spot amongst the top five, I can only feel glad for achieving this second place. I made a perfect Prologue!", assured the driver.
For Carlos Sousa, still on a natural adaptation phase to a new car, revealed that "the car is great and I'm very pleased. Naturally, I have to work the car a bit more in order to adjust it and adjust myself, because the driving of the Pajero is a lot different from the L200. This is a car with for a much more Rally orientated behavior, with a very different balance from what I was used to with the Strakar; the Pajero "rolls" a lot more and that's the type of new situations to which I'm going to adjust rapidly, getting the absolutely best from a fabulous car", Sousa concluded with a smile on his face.
Likewise in a stand-out position were other contestants, such as Rui Sousa who finished these first 11 kms in a positive 4th place, "a result within our expectations". In terms of national teams some formations were also surprisingly successful. Such is the case of Toyota, taking João Ramos and Filipe Campos's Toyotas RAV4 to 4th and 8th places respectively; also, Hélder Oliveira (Nissan Pick-Up Navara) and Duarte Rocha (BMW Proto) completed the top 10 with the 9th and 10th spots.