Rally truck rookie Marco Dono continues to
impress, after finishing in fifth place on his
very first cross country race, the recent Central Europe Rally, he has just steered his Iveco
Trakker to an outclassing victory in the tough Baja Spain (above).
Rally truck rookie Marco Dono continues to
impress and surprise. After finishing in fifth place in his
very first cross country race, the Central Europe Rally, he has now steered his Iveco
Trakker to an outclassing victory in the Baja Spain (17-20 July); a
comprehensive win after setting fastest time on 6 of the
7 special stages, plus the 2 McRae Memorials. After
800km of timed special stages, the Motorsports Italia
24 minutes in front of Jo Adua (Renault). Third placed F. Inocencio (Mercedes)
had a 49min disadvantage.
Marco Dono was
very happy with the result: "The Central Europe Rally revealed some weak
points on the suspension. During the last two months we reworked the vehicle
entirely, improving the total weight, weight distribution and suspension linkages.
We changed that much that we feared we may not get ready in time for the Baja.
We had a tough race already before the race! Finally we could just make a short
test drive before the Trakker had to be shipped. But this showed our setup was a
lucky punch, so I started with a good feel of confidence. And this was no
misjudgement – the vehicle has become a pleasure to drive!"
The 25th edition of the
Baja Spain saw the competitors enjoying a classy mix of
fast tracks on gravel and dusty soil, which were suddenly disrupted by rocky “Enduro style”
passages. The car class was won by Nasser Al-Attiyah (BMW X3)
"It has not turned out to be not easy at all," commented the
BMW driver. "This one is a rapid race, in which it is easy
to make mistakes. There were many good pilots. I have liked
very much Spain for this beautiful tour and good
organization. It is an area that looks like greatly the one
where I train." Meanwhile the bike category was conquered by
Marc Coma (KTM 660). "We had
marked a special proff of the 25th anniversary and I am very
satisfied with the result," said Coma. "The team has done a
fantastic work. After overcoming Teruel I gained confidence.
Stones, dust and a lot of heat. This edition has been
fantastic. To be grateful for the organization not to have
to pass the same place twice." Coma has dominated the Baja
from the beginning and adds his second victory, after the
first, achieved in 2004.
The mystery of
Dakar desert and Baja California left their mark within the
sports men and adventurers who were willing to fulfil their
spare time with challenging experiences. At the beginning of
the eighties, when the mythic Paris-Dakar was already
consolidated as one of the most important raids events, a
French-Spanish group lead by François Vicent and Carlos
Garcia, who was at that moment president of the Aragonesa -
Riojana Automobile Federation, decided to import the idea of
these two events to Spain. Searching for the best route
possible, they found in Aragon a beautiful semi deserted
area called Monegros, an unique place to enjoy, surrounded
by amazing landscapes, which offered an ideal framework for
the competition and with a perfect terrain for a 1.000 km
non stop race. This was the beginning of the Baja Spain. At
first it was called Montesblancos as the starting point was
just beside the Montesblancos Casino. The big difficulties
of the event, as the high temperatures and the dense dust,
have been since the very first moment the most remarkable
characteristics of a competition which has become a
“classic” within the World Cup as well as one of the most
appreciated in the International Calendar.
In the winners
list of the competition are world class drivers who have
provided the event with enormous prestigious: Ari Vatanen,
Pierre Lartigue, Jacky Icks, Timo Salonen, Jean Louis
Schlesser in the cars, or riders such as Bacou, Arcarons,
Mas, Gallardo, Steuri, Roma, Esteve, Coma, among others, in
bikes. Year 1999 set an historic precedent: for the first
time, an Spanish driver, Jose Manuel Serviá, took the
victory in cars with other two country men, Miguel Prieto
and Manuel Plaza, completing the final podium. In the car’s
list of winners, Jean Louis Schlesser is the most successful
driver, with four victories to his tenure.
manufacturers, Citroën stands in the first position, with
six triumphs. Within the motorbikes, Isidre Esteve is the
man who has accumulated more wins to his tally, five in
total, all of them with KTM, the last one last year. The
Austrian manufacturer has accumulated 15 triumphs in the
BAJA so far, the last eight of them
impressively clinched consecutively. In this category, the
Spaniards have won in 15 occasions.
heat, and rocky and stony clay, this terrain brings out the
best of man and machine in an impressive test of skill under
the tricky conditions of a fierce environment. This has
certainly been the real challenge of the Baja Spain, which
has driven its spirit all along the 23 years of competition.