Qatar’s Al-Attiyah suffers suspension damage and is forced out of running
Dutchman Ten Brinke and co-driver Colsoul retire on Toyota debut in SS4Polish enduro champion Blażusiak rolls out of Polish contention on third stage
The five-car Overdrive Racing team endured mixed fortunes at Baja Poland, round eight of the 2014 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, which finished in Szczecin Bezrzecze on Sunday.
The Team Orlen duo of Adam Malysz and Rafal Marton led the way over the finish ramp with a solid second position in the first of the five Belgian-run Toyota Hiluxes behind Polish event winner Krzysztof Holowczyc.
Marek Dabrowski and Jacek Czachor were classified fourth in the second Team Orlen car. Dutchman Bernhard Ten Brinke and Belgian co-driver Tom Colsoul made a solid start to their pre-Dakar preparations and held fifth place before retiring after leaving the track on the fourth stage.
There was disappointment for Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver Matthieu Baumel. They led after the Prologue before collecting a puncture and then damaging the Toyota’s suspension on the second run through the Poligon Drawski stage. The retirement was a set back to Al-Attiyah’s chances of winning the FIA World Cup for the second time.
Renowned Polish enduro rider Tadeusz ‘Taddy’ Blażusiak was running well inside the top 10 on his car debut, but he and French navigator Edouard Boulanger were forced out of the reckoning on the same stage after rolling their Toyota.
The competitive action got underway with an eight-kilometre Prologue stage and Al-Attiyah drew first blood for the Overdrive Racing team by setting the fastest time of 6min 42.6sec to move into a comfortable 17-second lead. Dabrowski and Malysz were fourth and fifth, Ten Brinke was eighth on his Toyota debut and Blazusiak crossed the line in 10th, despite the wet conditions.
The first of two runs through the 192km Poligon Drawski selective section was on the agenda on Saturday morning and Holowczyc recorded the fastest time and moved 1min 40sec in front of Al-Attiyah in the overall rankings after the Qatari was forced to stop and change a puncture. Malysz and Dabrowski climbed to third and fourth overall. The sixth quickest time pushed Ten Brinke into a similar position in the general classification and Blazusiak was an impressive eighth on his debut in a car.
Holowczyc was quickest on the re-run of the stage and headed into the overnight halt with a lead of 4min 48.9sec over Malysz after Al-Attiyah had damaged his Toyota’s suspension and retired. Dabrowski and Ten Brinke finished the day in fourth and fifth overall, but Blazusiak rolled his Hilux out of contention.
Action continued on Sunday with two planned runs through the 65km Dobra selective section and Holowczyc closed in on victory by setting the second fastest time, despite heavy rain and muddy, slippery conditions
The Pole beat Malysz by 19 seconds and extended his advantage to 5min 07.9sec. FIA World Cup leader Vladimir Vasilyev crashed out of the top 10 and a points-scoring finish and this kept the door open for Al-Attiyah to maintain his title challenge on the remaining two rounds of the series in Morocco and Portugal. Dabrowski retained fourth with the fourth quickest time.
The final stage was cancelled because of the adverse weather conditions and Malysz and Dabrowski reached the finish in second and fourth overall.
2014 Baja Poland – final positions:
1. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 5hr 22min 36.6sec
2. Adam Malysz (POL)/Rafal Marton (POL) Overdrive Toyota Hilux 5hr 27min 57.5sec
3. Martin Kaczmarski (POL)/Tapio Suominen (FIN) Mini All4 Racing 5hr 32min 25.4sec
4. Marek Dabrowski (POL)/Jacek Czachor (POL) Overdrive Toyota Hilux 5hr 35min 13.4sec
5. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Maciej Marton (POL) Hummer H3 Evo 6hr 10min 58.4sec, etc
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies – positions after round 8 (unofficial):
1. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) 192 pts
2. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT) 136 pts
3. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU) 120 pts
4. Marek Dabrowski (POL) 99 pts
5. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE) 96 pts
6. Adam Malysz (POL) 89 pts
7. Reinaldo Varela (BRA) 56 pts
8. Martin Kaczmarski (POL) 54 pts
9. Erik van Loon (NLD) 48 pts, etc
Press Overdrive Racing Team