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CC Overdrive Racing to target Russian Baja success with three Toyotas

Baja Russia Northern Forest ‘14, FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 1

February 14-16th, 2014

For immediate release
Monday, February 3rd, 2014

OVERDRIVE RACING TO TARGET RUSSIAN BAJA SUCCESS WITH THREE TOYOTA HILUXES

· Saudi WRC star Yazeed Al-Rajhi rejoins Overdrive to target winter glory
· Brazilian Reinaldo Varela and Pole Marek Dabrowski complete team line-up

VILLERS-LE-BOUILLET (BELGIUM): Belgium’s Overdrive Racing heads east next week with three Toyota Hiluxes to tackle Baja Russia Northern Forest ‘14, the opening round of the 2014 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, Held across the icy and snowy wastelands of the Leningrad region of northern Russia, the event takes place on February 14-16th.

Saudi WRC star Yazeed Al-Rajhi returns to the team to start his own FIA World Cup campaign alongside the experienced German co-driver Timo Gottschalk. Timo won two special stages alongside Carlos Sainz at the recent Dakar Rally.

Al-Rajhi tackled the Rally Jeddah at the end of January before heading to Sweden for the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship. That experience in a conventional saloon-type rally car should pay dividends when he switches to the Toyota to master a similar type of terrain and equally wintry conditions in northern Russia.

The Brazilian pairing of Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin won the Baja Italy outright with Overdrive Racing in 2013 and they return to the championship this year in a second Hilux.

Poles Marek Dabrowski and Jacek Czachor switched from enduro riding to racing on four wheels last year and achieved a stunning seventh-placed finish in January’s Dakar Rally with their Team Orlen-backed Toyota. They crew the third Overdrive car in Russia.

“I think we have an excellent team ready and raring to go at the start of the FIA World Cup in Russia,” said Overdrive team director Jean-Marc Fortin. “There has been very little time to re-gather our thoughts and prepare logistically since the Dakar, but we are all looking forward to this very different challenge.

“The big contrast will be the weather conditions. On the Dakar, our team was working in temperatures of up to 40° Centigrade and, in Russia, those temperatures in the snow will drop to around 25° below zero.

“Yazeed has worked with our team before with the Nissan and won the Ha’il International Rally in Saudi Arabia. He will head straight to Russia from Rally Sweden; that will be perfect training for him to play in the snow before Baja Russia.”

Fortin also confirmed that Dabrowski and Varela are scheduled to tackle a full programme of FIA World Cup events with Overdrive Racing.

With the rally headquarters – the Ice Palace - located 50km south of St. Petersburg at the popular ski resort of Igora, the main timetable of events at Baja Russia Northern Forest ‘14 starts with scrutineering and administration checks from 08.00hrs on Friday, February 14th.

A ceremonial start at 15.15hrs precedes a timed six-kilometre super special stage in the Priozerskiy area from 16.20hrs.

Two timed selective sections take teams through the northern Russian wilderness on Saturday, February 15th from 09.45hrs and 13.05hrs and the race reaches a conclusion with a fourth selective section on Sunday morning from 10.45hrs. The podium finish is scheduled for 15.00hrs in Igora.

The Northern Forest event was included in the FIA championship calendar in 2009 and 2010 and ran as a candidate rally last season after a two-year break. Formerly a round of the smaller Baja series, this year’s event marks the first time that a round of the FIA World Cup will be held in Russia.

Ends

For further information: contact Jean-Marc Fortin (E-mail: jmf@overdriveracing.be), Overdrive S.A., rue de la métallurgie 37, 4530 Villers-le-Bouillet, Belgium, Tel: + 32 475 762 391. www.overdriveracing.be

 

Date issued: 03/02/2014

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