The Monster Energy X-raid Team and the X-raid Team currently have a busy schedule. This weekend, just two weeks after the Hungarian Baja, X-raid will be back in action: the battle for World Cup points will be continued in the Baja Poland, with Russian pairing Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov planning to use this event for consolidating and possibly even extending their FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup lead. At the same time, Poland’s Martin Kaczmarski and his compatriot and Monster Energy X-raid Team driver, Krzysztof Holowczyc, also want to shine in front of their home crowd. The fourth MINI ALL4 Racing to contest the Baja Poland will be raced by the German pairing Stephan Schott / Holm Schmidt.
In the first seven rounds of the season, Vasilyev acquired a 56-point lead over second-placed Nasser Al-Attiyah and a 72-point lead over Yazeed Al-Rajhi in third position. With another three rounds to go, there still are 120 points to be secured, 30 of the in the forthcoming Baja Poland. Just as it was the case in the Baja Aragon, Kaczmarski is going to contest the Baja Poland with his new Finnish navigator Tapio Suominen. In Spain, the ambitious Pole finished third behind his team mates Nani Roma and Orlando Terranova. Meanwhile, Holowczyc hopes to finally make an end to his streak of bad luck. He is going to contest his home event together with Frenchman Xavier Panseri who resides in Poland. And for Schott it’s the first appearance since his very fine fifth place in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.
Other than the short Hungarian Baja the Baja Poland is a three-day event. On the first two days, the service park will be located in Szczecin. From there, the Baja Poland will be started on Friday with an eight-kilometre prologue. On Saturday, the teams will have to complete two 192-kilometre special stages and then, the service park will be moved to Drawsko Pomorskie for the Sunday action, featuring two 65-kilometre special stages.
“We are entering the FIA World Cup home straight,” said Team Manager Sven Quandt. “There are another three events to be contested and the Baja Poland could result in a tendency. Vladimir has to stay calm and focused like in the last races. His rivals have to push and take risks if they want to try to close in on him.”
“The Bajas are only short events but you have to be extremely focused, nevertheless,” said Vasilyev. “The tight, winding roads – often with trees, bushes or rocks on the roadside – are unforgiving. Just as we did in Spain and Hungary, we once again will focus on adding points to our tally.”