The 16th edition of the Hungarian Baja concluded today after a spectacular opening event of a Super Special Stage (SSS), followed by two days of challenging long distance rally action over three Special Stages. The end result of this tough competition saw MINI ALL4 Racing cars fill the top two positions.
MINI ALL4 Racing crew of Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and co-driver Michel Périn (FRA) started the Hungarian Baja with an impressive second place in the opening Super Special Stage on Friday evening (12th Sept). By the end of Saturday evening, after Special Stages 2 & 3, the “Flying Finn” had placed his MINI ALL4 Racing at the head of the leader board.
By keeping a cool head and working in perfect harmony with co-driver Michel Périn, MINI ALL4 Racing #2 completed SS4 of the 675 km event in first place with an obviously delighted Hirvonen at the wheel…
“We had a great weekend,” said Hirvonen. “Everything went perfectly – although I did not expect the Hungarian Baja to be so demanding, so difficult, especially when I saw the length of the stages, which I thought were to be more like sprints. But they were really technical in places and narrow, and with the rain and mud they proved to be difficult. But everything worked perfectly. I’m really happy to get my first victory with Michel and the MINI ALL4 Racing.”
Bryce Menzies (USA) and co-driver Peter Mortensen (USA) were equally delighted with their second place finish and with good reason: this is only the third competitive race for Menzies at the controls of a MINI ALL4 Racing. Co-driver Mortensen was wearing an even bigger smile at race end because this was his first marathon rally race in a MINI ALL4 Racing.
Menzies: “Leading up to this race we didn’t know what to expect. It was really challenging; from the high speed roads; the trees; and then the open grass fields where it was really rough. I think we did really well; the whole team and, of course, the MINI ALL4 Racing. I’m looking forward to the next rally.”
As a development event, the Hungarian Baja proved to be an ideal venue. The differing terrain provided useful insight for the development teams of technical service supplier X-raid – but especially in preparation for the fast approaching Dakar rally 2017.
The third member of the MINI ALL4 Racing family, #5 Van Loon Racing, fell victim to a large, unavoidable hole on Stage 2 (Saturday). Fortunately, it was only severe car damage that ruled Dutch pairing Erik van Loon and Wouter Rosegaar out of the rest of the race.
The next race of the 2016 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies is Baja Poland, 25–28th August.