CC Overdrive Racing's Jes Munk finishes fifth after dramatic final day in Italy

Italian Baja
June 16-18, 2017


· Late retirements for Chabot, Kaczmarski and Domzala in Overdrive Toyotas

PORDENONE (ITALY) – Sunday, June 18: Overdrive Racing was on course for second and third overall at the Italian Baja, round six of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, with two short stages to run on Sunday.

But a series of flat tyres cost Martin Kaczmarski his chance of snatching third place and engine issues prevented Aron Domzala from finishing second and Ronan Chabot from snatching a potential third place on the final stage. The bright stop on a disappointing day in Italy for Overdrive Racing was a fine fifth position for Denmark’s Jes Munk and French co-driver Sébastien Delaunay after earlier electrical issues in the fourth Toyota Hilux.

The French duo of Chabot and Gilles Pillot missed out on the final podium with last stage engine problems on an event that was won by Poland’s Jakub Przygonski from Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal. Overdrive Racing’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah missed the Baja because of a date clash with the Cyprus Rally, but still leads the FIA World Cup standings after six rounds.

Kaczmarski teamed up with Finland’s Tapio Suominen and looked set for a third-placed finish until he suffered a series of four flat tyres on the penultimate stage and retired. Fellow Pole Domzala and navigator Maciej Marton held second for much of the rally in an all-Polish lock-out of the podium places, but Domzala sustained engine problems on the penultimate stage and also missed out on a potential podium finish.

Overdrive Racing’s CEO Jean-Marc Fortin said: “Mixed thoughts from the rally this time. We were on course for second and third places for Aron and Martin and even Ronan until the last stages and that is very disappointing. We had two cars in the top three for much of the rally but I am pleased for Jes that he achieved such a good result in difficult conditions with the heat and the dust.”

Przygonski clocked the fastest time through the 19.8km of the opening muddy and dusty super special stage at Valvasone and opened up a lead of 31 seconds over Domzala.

The Pole’s Overdrive Racing colleagues, Kaczmarski and Chabot, slotted into sixth and 14th but Munk suffered electrical problems and was classified in 19th place heading into the weekend. Kaczmarski missed out on a potential stage win after sustaining a rear right puncture that forced him to finish the stage on a wheel rim and flailing rubber.

The meat of the northern Italian action began on Saturday morning with the first of three runs through a 91.8km ‘Cantina’ selective section near San Lorenzo and Valvasone. Kaczmarski hit back with the quickest time of 1hr 10min 28sec through the first run and moved 33.1 seconds behind his fellow Pole. Domzala and Chabot were fifth and seventh and held fourth and seventh overall. Munk recovered from his super special delays to set the 12th fastest time in hot, humid conditions across a wide variety of terrain, water splashes and river crossings.

Domzala pressed home his advantage in the second run through Cantina and climbed above Kaczmarski and into second overall, 1min 45.4sec behind Przygonski. Kaczmarski, Chabot and Munk were fourth, sixth and ninth quickest. The Frenchman held fifth place and Munk moved up to ninth.

Przygonski was again quickest on the third run to take a lead of 2min 35.4sec over Domzala into the overnight halt in Pordenone. Kaczmarski was third, Chabot fifth and Munk was up to 10th.

The final day’s action took place over two passes through a Valvadrom special stage of 86.4km between Valvasone and Rauscedo. Przygonski clocked the fastest time of 1hr 02min 36sec through the opener to extend his lead over Zapletal to 9min 04sec after Domzala hit engine trouble, incurred a stage maximum penalty and slipped out of contention.

Kaczmarski lost nearly half an hour and slipped to seventh overall after sustaining several punctures and then lost time in the dust. Chabot and Munk were third and eighth, with punctures an issue for Munk as well.

Przygonski held on to take the win from Zapletal, but there was late disappointment for Chabot, who missed out on the final podium place to Mohammed Abu Issa after engine issues. Kaczmarski’s tyre woes meant that he missed the final stage and Munk duly climbed to fifth at the finish of a dramatic final day in Italy. Chabot and Kaczmarski were eventually classified in ninth and 11th overall with time penalties added by rally officials.

The next round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rally is Baja Spain on July 21-23.

2017 Italian Baja – final positions (unofficial @ 14.50hrs):
1. Jakub Przygonski (POL)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) Mini All4 Racing 5hr 41min 21.7sec
2. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Marek Sykora (SLO) Hummer H3 Evo VII 5hr 57min 33.8sec
3. Mohammed Abu Issa (QAT)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 6hr 12min 44.1sec
4. Fernando Alvarez (ESP)/Pablo Monasterolo (ARG) Toyota Hilux 6hr 16min 09.7sec
5. Jes Munk (DNK)/Sébastien Delaunay (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 6hr 27min 37.5sec
6. Elvis Borsoi (ITA)/Stefano Rossi (ITA) Toyota Toyodell 6hr 30min 40.1sec
9. Ronan Chabot (FRA)/Gilles Pillot (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 11hr 57min 05.3sec
11. Martin Kaczmarski (POL)/Tapio Suominen (FIN) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 12hr 12min 50.8sec

FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies – standings after round 6 (unofficial):
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT) 150pts
2. Jakub Przygonski (POL) 114pts
3. Khalid Al-Qassimi (ARE) 105pts
4. Mohammed Abu Issa (QAT) 84pts
5. Yasir Saeidan (SAU) 82pts
6. Aron Domzala (POL) 76pts, etc


Jean-Marc Fortin (E-mail: jmf@overdriveracing.be), Overdrive S.A., rue de L’Enterprise 1, 4530 Villers-le-Bouillet, Belgium, Tel: + 32 475 762 391. www.overdriveracing.be - Facebook group: Overdrive Racing




Date issued: 18/06/2017

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