Baja Portalegre: Final test for Nani Roma before the Dakar
Oct 19, 2018
Roma / Haro in the MINI JCW Rally
Roma also set to drive at the 2019 Dakar
The Cross-Country rally season is drawing to a close, and Joan “Nani” Roma and Alex Haro (both ESP) are using the Baja Portalegre to prepare for the Dakar Rally in January. The duo will drive and test a MINI John Cooper Works Rally, which has been the subject of further development.
Roma has won the Dakar on two occasions in the past – one of these successes came on a motorcycle, the other in the MINI ALL4 Racing in 2014. However, he had little to cheer about at the start of 2018: a crash forced Nani to retire from the Dakar and return home. After a few weeks of physiotherapy and training, he returned to the wheel of the MINI at the Silk Way Rally. Despite struggling with a few issues at first, he was back competing with the front-runners later in the rally. Roma then took victories in the MINI at the Hungarian Baja and the Turkmen Desert Race. He now lines up at the Baja Portalegre, hungry to make it a hat-trick.
The X-raid team has given the MINI John Cooper Works Rally a thorough check-up over the past few months. The exterior of the car sports a number of visible changes, such as the larger air inlet at the front. However, it goes without saying that many of the developments are not visible. For example, the MINI John Cooper Works Rally has shed several kilos and work has also been carried out on the chassis.
The Baja Portalegre is held around the Portuguese town of the same name, Portalegre. The crews will cover a total distance of 685.60 kilometres on the Friday and Saturday – 456.56 of those against the clock.
“I am looking forward to the Baja Portalegre. I have never raced there before. The fans in Portugal are always very enthusiastic. The routes are not easy. It is twisty, narrow, and is often very muddy and slippery. It is an important event for us, as we will be racing in the MINI John Cooper Works Rally, which has been further developed for the 2019 Dakar. It is important to get race kilometres under our belt.”
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