Impressive FIA World Cup debuts for Bolivia’s Bulacia and Chile’s Mas Valdes
Spaniard Fernando Alvarez overcomes problems to bring third car safely home
South Racing continued its pre-Dakar Rally preparations in impressive style at the three-day Baja Portalegre 500, the final round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, which finished in eastern Portugal on Saturday.
Based in Germany, the car preparations company also has workshops in Portugal and entered three cars in the demanding off-road event that attracted an impressive 89 starters in various automobile classes. All three South Racing cars made it to the finish in sixth, eighth and 23rd positions.
Bolivian driver Marco Bulacia and his Argentine navigator Ruben Garcia led the way for the South Racing team in their VIALCO Racing Toyota Hilux. They were the fastest non-Portuguese crew through the opening 5.62km super special stage on Friday morning and went on to set the 14th, seventh and fifth quickest times in the off-road special stages that followed en route to a superb sixth overall. The result was all the more impressive bearing in mind it was the first international event for the driver outside Bolivia.
The Chilean duo of Daniel Mas Valdes and Juan Pablo Latrach reached the finish in Portalegre in a highly creditable eighth position in their DMAS South Racing Ford Ranger. The event marked the first time that the crew had competed together and provided the duo with excellent experience as they continue their preparations for the Dakar Rally in January 2016.
Mas Valdes was classified 14th through the short opening super special and set 14th, 12th and eighth quickest times in the three selective sections that followed.
Spaniard Fernando Alvarez had a testing race in the third South Racing car, his Conarpesa-backed Toyota Hilux. He and Argentinean navigator Luciano Genonni reached the finish in 23rd overall, but Genonni was sick during the first day and the duo rolled their Toyota three kilometres from the end of the first stage on Saturday, but were able to continue with the loss of over half an hour.
“This was a good race for the entire team,” enthused South Racing’s director Scott Abraham. “It’s great to be racing in Europe again after our South American race calendar this year. Portalegre is practically our home race as our workshops are in Sintra, near Lisbon."
“Marco (Bulacia) and Daniel (Mas Valdes) have enjoyed a great debut in the FIA World Cup. Fernando showed great courage and brought his car to the finish. A big thanks to all our mechanics and operational team. They have worked tirelessly to get the cars and the truck ready. It is a great way to go into the final preparations for the 2016 Dakar.”
South Racing was founded in 2013. Based near Frankfurt in Germany, the young, customer-driven team has workshops in Portugal and has extensive experience of the Dakar Rally and rallying in South America.
2015 Baja Portalegre – final positions (unofficial @19.00hrs):