The 23rd Italian Baja takes place 23-26th June, in the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, northeast Italy, with the action taking place on the rolling plains and river beds around the province of Pordenone.
Two MINI ALL4 Racing are lined up against a large entry of competitors, which should guarantee spectacular cross-country rally racing for the competing teams and the spectating crowds. Under the banner of X-raid Team, the two MINI ALL4 Racing entries will be crewed by Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-pilot Timo Gottschalk (GER) in car #202, with Bryce Menzies (USA) and Tom Colsoul (BEL) in MINI ALL4 Racing #214.
The new partnership of Al Rajhi and Gottschalk has proven to be a successful one. In the first third of this year’s Fia Cross Country World Cup, at Round 2, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2016, the pairing netted a deserved second place result. The same race end position was also achieved at Round 3, Qatar Sealine Cross Country Rally 2016. For the Italian Baja, Al Rajhi is in a determined mood to go one better…
For America’s Bryce Menzies, the 2016 Italian Baja is only his second outing in a MINI ALL4 Racing. His first full race at the controls of a MINI ALL4 Racing took place at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2016. Considering he had never competed in such a lengthy desert rally competition, Menzies completed the race in an amazing fourth place with the experienced co-pilot Andreas Schulz (GER) at his side.
By utilising Al Rajhi and Menzies’ varied rally experiences (climate, terrain, vehicles), they are proving to be key components in X-raid Team’s development of the MINI ALL 4 Racing ahead of the 2017 Dakar Rally.
Ongoing test and development work under race conditions is paramount to reliability and performance, both of which are essential ingredients to securing success at the Dakar Rally – the ultimate in long distance cross-country endurance rallies. The fact a MINI ALL4 Racing won the Dakar Rally across four consecutive years (2012-15) and completed the 2016 edition in second place pays testament to this continuous development regime.
Racing action at the 2016 Italian Baja starts Friday 24th June with a “shakedown” test available for the competing teams. This will be followed at 17:00 local time by a spectacular timed Super Special Stage (SSS – Leg 1) in the area of Cordenons.
The end results of SSS Leg 1will determine the start order for the two Special Stages (SS 2/3) of Leg 2, Saturday 25th June. Leg 3 on the final day, Sunday 26th June, features two further Special Stages before the final result late afternoon – results that hopefully will mirror the MINI win achieved in the 2015 Italian Baja. For more important information regarding this year’s Italian Baja, please vist: www.italianbaja.it
2016 Italian Baja : MINI ALL4 Racing line up
|Yazeed Al Rajhi
|Timo Gottschalk (GER)||202||X-raid Team|
|Bryce Menzies (USA)||Tom Colsoul (BEL)||214||X-raid Team|
Race calendar: 2016 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies
19/02 – 22/02 Baja Russia
02/04 – 7/04 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
17/04 – 22/04 Sealine Cross-Country Rally Qatar
23/06 – 26/06 Italian Baja
22/07 – 24/07 Baja Aragón
11/08 – 14/08 HunGarian Baja
25/08 – 28/08 Baja Poland
03/10 – 08/10 Rallye Oilibya du Maroc
21/10 – 23/10 Baja Portalegre 500