South Racing brought all four of its cars to the finish of the punishing three-day Baja Spain Aragón inside the top 20, with the Portuguese duo of Ricardo Porém and Hugo Magalhães leading the way in 10th position in their Ford Ranger. The event was the seventh round of this year’s FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies,
Fernando Alvarez continues to improve on every event that he contests and he and Argentinean co-driver Juan-Pablo Monasterolo brought their Conarpesa-backed Toyota Hilux to the Teruel finish in 18th overall after losing over 20 minutes on the final stage and slipping out 11th position.
Czech driver Tomáš Ouřednīček teamed up with Miloslav Janacek to reach the finish in 16th in their Ford Ranger, while the German father and son duo of Jürgen and Maximilian Schröder were classified in 17th position in a South Racing-run Nissan Navara.
South Racing had mixed feelings after the opening Prologue stage. Xavier Pons had damaged his DMAS South Racing Ford Ranger on a pre-rally shakedown and had not been able to take the start in Teruel.
“It was a difficult race for the team, but we managed to bring all the cars to the finish inside the top 20,” said South Racing’s managing director Scott Abraham. “It was obviously unfortunate about Xevi’s problems in shakedown, but things are looking strong. A big thanks to all the team. We still have 11 races to go this year and things are looking good for us in Paraguay at the moment. We are leading one and two…..”
Pons’s accident meant that only four of the five team cars began the 9.3km opening stage and Porém headed the challenge with the seventh quickest time amongst the 67 cars in the FIA section. Alvarez was 17th, Ouřednīček 22nd and Schröder 24th.
The first of the selective sections ran for 216.92km between Teruel and Perales Alfambra. Porém was the first of the South Racing drivers through the special in 10th overall and a time of 2hrs 56min 10.9sec, while Schröder and Alvarez were 14th and 15th and held 16 and 13th in the general classification. Ouřednīček slipped a place to 23rd.
The shorter second stage ran for 133.78km and Porém was again the quickest of the South Racing cars with the ninth fastest time, but eight minutes of time penalties dropped the Portuguese to 12th overall. Alvarez, Ouřednīček and Schröder carded the 13th, 17th and 20th quickest times and reached the overnight halt in 11th, 19th and 15th positions.
The action drew to a conclusion with a stage of 184.05km between Barrachina and Caude on Sunday. Porém set the ninth quickest time to deliver another solid performance for South Racing and 10th in the overall standings, but Alvarez slipped down the rankings after losing 20 minutes on the last stage. Ouřednīček and Schröder finished strongly to confirm their places inside the top 20.
2017 Baja Spain Aragón – positions after SS4 (unofficial @ 15.55hrs):
- Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Hilux 6hrs 40min 20sec
- Orlando Terranova (ARG)/Paulo Fiuza (PRT) Mini All4 Racing 6hrs 42min 55sec
- Mikko Hirvonen (FIN)/Andreas Schulz (DEU) Mini All4 Racing 6hrs 43min 26sec
- Joan Roma (ESP)/Alex Haro (ESP) Toyota Hilux 6hrs 48min 43sec
- Leeroy Poulter (ZAF)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota Hilux 6hrs 52min 05sec
- Jakub Przygonski (POL)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Mini John Cooper Works Rally 6hrs 57min 25sec
- Ricardo Porém (PRT)/Hugo Magalhães (PRT) South Racing Ford Ranger 7hrs 16min 14sec
- Tomáš Ouřednīček (CZE)/Miloslav Janacek (CZE) South Racing Ford Ranger 7hrs 34min 48sec
- Jürgen Schröder (DEU)/Maximilian Schröder (DEU) South Racing Nissan Navara 7hrs 35min 50sec
- Fernando Alvarez (ESP)/Juan Pablo Monasterolo (ARG) South Racing Toyota Hilux 7hrs 38min 28sec