Fedor Vorobyev and Michele Cinotto will kick up the dust and try and survive punishing heat in the deserts of Wadi Rum, when they go head-to-head in the battle to secure T3 Trophy honours in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas at this weekend’s Jordan Baja.
Vorobyev holds the advantage heading into the desert showdown. Driving his Zavidovo Racing Team Can-Am Maverick X3, the Russian has amassed 107 points from the first six rounds of a series that concludes with this event in Jordan and a finale in Portugal in October.
Vorobyev and co-driver Kirill Shubin claimed maximum points for three T3 victories in Italy, Hungary and Poland, finished second in Dubai and had points-scoring finishes in Russia and Spain.
Those back-to-back victories in Hungary and Poland in August and early September were a killer-blow to third title rival Santiago Navarro of Spain, but Italy’s Michele Cinotto finished fourth in Hungary and second in Poland and has managed to hang on to Vorobyev’s coat-tails.
He now trails the Russian by 15 points, the Polaris RXR 1000 Turbo driver’s cause helped no end by a good start to the season that saw him leading the way in the middle of the summer. Cinotto won Baja Russia through the frozen forests of Russia’s Republic of Karelia in February and added a third in Italy to a pair of fourth places in Dubai and Hungary and fifth in Spain.
Victory in Jordan would confirm the T3 title for Vorobyev, but a top finish for Cinotto would guarantee that the title duel went down to the wire in Portugal next month. Twenty-five points are on offer for the winner, with 18 for second, 15 for third and 12 for fourth.
Competition for the title rivals will come from Saudi Arabia’s Saleh Al-Saif and privateer Guy Bitton. Al-Saif is more than capable of winning the category outright across deserts that are very similar to those found just south of the border in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Can-Am Maverick X3 driver led the Ha’il International Rally outright on one occasion and finished eighth overall in 2018.
T3 is a category for series production cars that conform to certain specific FIA technical regulations, most notably a minimum weight limit of 900kg and a maximum permitted engine cylinder capacity of 1050cm³, although a production turbo is permitted.
Vorobyev’s Can-Am Maverick X3, for example, is built by South Racing and is powered by a Rotax ACE turbo-charged engine and fitted with a fuel tank with a maximum capacity of 130 litres.
Teams will carry out final preparations and any necessary testing on Wednesday before the on-stage action begins with a short super special stage in Aqaba from 4pm on Thursday afternoon. Crews can expect outside temperatures in excess of 40°C in Wadi Rum over the weekend.
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas – T3 Trophy standings after round 6:
- Fedor Vorobyev (RUS) 107pts
- Michele Cinotto (ITA) 92pts
- Santiago Navarro (ESP) 76pts
- Adel Abdulla (QAT) 45pts
- Aleksandr Dorosinskiy (POL) 43pts
- Abdullah Al-Zubair (OMN) 34pts
- Gerard Farrés (ESP) 15pts
- Dmitrii Ponomarenko (RUS) 15pts
- Eric Abel (FRA) 15pts
- Alexey Shmotov (RUS) 12pts
- Michal Goczal (POL) 12pts, etc
Source: NDP Publicity (Neil Perkins)