Vladimir Vasilyev and Michael Metge get their first victory in Baja Aragón
The 35th edition of the Baja Aragón has been decided in the last special for both the bikes and the cars, and in both categories, the positions on the podium were separated only by seconds, that made the Sunday stage the most intense of the recent years.
In cars, the Russian Vladimir Vasilyev (06:37:50), was the first to cross the finish line, and scored a victory for the first time after several participations. In addition, this result allowed him to overtake Martin Prokop in the overall classification of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, where until now he was third.
Behind Vasilyev, Poland’s “Kuba” Przygonski finished in second position, with a gap of only 52 seconds. The winner of the second special of yesterday and current leader of the World Cup although managed to climb to the podium, could not overtake Vasilyev, but he was “very happy” with the final result.
Czech Republic’s Martin Prokop was not as satisfied at the finish line. His Ford Raptor nicknamed “Shrek” suffered a puncture in today’s special that together with the rainy conditions costed him the victory and he finished only third in Baja Aragón 2018. “Losing in the last stage is a pity. I wanted to decrease the gap in the World Cup, but now it is almost impossible. It was hard, but that’s the way it is,” he said on arriving at the finish line.
For the first time in the past few years, there are not any local drivers on the podium. Xevi Pons, who finished third on Saturday, had mechanical problems that took him away not only from the podium, but also from the top 10.
The best of the Spanish was Fernando Álvarez, seventh overall, followed by Gerard Subirats, tenth, and Madrid’s Rally Champion, Rubén Gracia, who finished thirteenth.
The adventurer and television host Jesus Calleja has been fourteenth, while Isidre Esteve was able to in the Baja for the first time in cars since his injury, in the sixteenth position.
Among the women, after the problems suffered by Cristina Gutiérrez on Saturday with the belt of the alternator, that made her lose more than an hour, the final winners were the French Marion Andrieu and Clémence Favy (French champion of cross-country rallies), followed by the crew formed by Christine Giampaoli and Luy Galán; Cristina Gutiérrez and Mónica Plaza, finally finished third. These three crews 100% female, both the driver and the co-driver being women.
Waiting for the official results lists, the winner in buggies is Dani Solá, who also takes the Road to Dakar prize, so he won a free entry to next year’s Dakar Rally in Peru.
In motorcycles, the results of yesterday already predicted that the battle was going to be intense, and the reality did not disappoint. Finally, the Frenchman Michael Metge took his first victory in Baja Aragón in his third participation in which he shared the podium with his brother Adrien, who was third.
Only 21 seconds behind Michael, the Spanish Joan Pedrero occupied the second place, somewhat disappointed by the tightness of the result, fighting for his first victory in the event after several participations.
Marc Solá, also regular competitors on these tracks, missed out on the podium by only 13 seconds, finishing fourth overall.
Among the quads, the breakdown suffered by Mario Gajón has turned the classification upside down, letting Dani Vilà to win the category, followed by last year’s winner, Arnaldo Martins.
Rosa Romero, has been proclaimed winner of the Baja Aragón in the female category of motorcycles, accompanied on the podium by Sara García and Rita Vieira.
At the end of the stage, at 11 am, the rain made an appearance and the last bikes reached the finish line with cold and difficulties, but finally a total of 64 have managed to finish the special and thus the 35th edition of the Baja Aragón.
Following the trend of this edition, the Czech Jaroslav Valtr took his first victory in Baja Aragón aboard a Bonver Tatra, followed by last year’s winner, his compatriot Martin Macik, who finished in a creditable second position after having raced all weekend long with an injury in his leg that forced him to use crutches.