30th Italian Baja World Cup


Italian Baja, Ferreira’s blitz on his Mini


Pordenone, 8 July 2023_ Looking at the stopwatch it doesn’t count much, but it’s for sure a confidence boost. Yesterday Joao Ferreira on a Mini Cooper Works Plus conquered the prologue “Meduna” of 10.07 km, starting the Italian Baja on the right foot and with a provisional first position, ahead of the well known track stars. Only 1’’5 the gap between him and Nasser Al Attiyah on a Toyota Hilux Gazoo Racing, 4’’9 between him and Yazeed Al Rajhi on the Hilux Overdrive. They likely avoided a “direct” performance since the main course is served this morning, the “Pasch” leg of 131 km, which will really mark the difference.
But the Portuguese’s blitz created a small surprise that was able to generate even more tension, in a race that’s already quite “caliente”, not only for the blazing sun on the vehicles. Krzyszrof Holowczyc is fourth at 13’’2 on another Mini X-Raid - Polish driver’s circumspect start is totally understandable, since 2 years ago he was stuck in a ford during the prologue. Another gap and another big name, Otavio Sousa Leite fifth at 25’’0 on a Can-Am Maverick T3, first of the lightweight tubulars ahead of the Argentinian Juan Cruz Yacopini (Hilux) at 26’’5 and of our Amerigo Ventura on a Quaddy Yamaha (T4) at 26’’7, best among Italians. Closing the provisional top-ten the Can-Ams of Brazilian Cristiano Batista De Sousa (T4), Pordenonese Federico Buttò (T3) and Kuwaiti Mshari Althefiri (T3).


A very dark beginning for tricolor leader, Manuele Menegozzi on a Hilux Overdrive, copiloted by his wife Erika Bombardini, that overturned on the prologue (no consequence for the crew) and there’s still a doubt on his restart today. In the duel T1 between the Suzuki New Grand Vitara, Lorenzo Codecà (8’48’’2) set the best time on the riverbed, but with a penalty of 1’’ for jump start and so Alfio Bondonaro, defending champion, is leading the ranking with his 8’55’’4, Emilio Ferroni at 6’’4, Stefano Sabellico at 9’’3. First of the T2 Alberto Spinetti (Suzuki). Ventura (7’49’’5) first among SSV with Federico Buttò at 2’’6 and Andrea Castagnera at 8’’7 (both on Can-Ams). This evening the Italian finals with the award ceremony at the Interporto. The world cup competition is ending tomorrow at 1 pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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