Exciting pairings at the Baja Aragon
Jul 15, 2021
- Baja World Cup leader Yasir Seaidan in the MINI JCW Rally
- X-raid lines up with six rally cars
The Baja Espana Aragon forms round five of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, and Yasir Seaidan (KSA) and his co-driver Alexey Kuzmich (RUS) are out to defend their overall lead in the MINI JCW Rally. Krzysztof Holowczyc and Lukasz Kurzeja (both POL) also line up in a MINI JCW Rally. X-raid travels to Spain with three MINI ALL4 Racings, two of them will be driven by Jutta Kleinschmidt / Philipp Beier (both GER) and Mattias Ekström / Emil Bergkvist (both SWE). Rui Carneiro (POR) is set to make his debut in the third MINI ALL4 Racing, alongside his compatriot Paulo Fiuza. Annett Fischer (GER) and Ioannis Ganotis (GRE) will start in a side-by-side.
Seaidan currently leads the championship with 70.5 points, followed by Mshari Althefiri with 30 points and Vladimir Vasilyev with 29. The Saudi has amassed three victories and one third place so far in his MINI JCW Rally. He had initially only planned to contest the races in the Arab region, but Seaidan is now keen to continue his campaign on the back of the success he has enjoyed to this point.
Holowczyz is a long-time companion of X-raid. In recent years, the Pole has focussed on the Baja Poland, which he has won on several occasions. Holowczyc has been racing for X-raid for a number of years. In 2010 and 2011 he lined up at the Dakar in a BMW X3, later switching to the MINI ALL4 Racing. His biggest success with X-raid came in the form of third place at the 2015 Dakar.
Kleinschmidt has also been competing in cars built by X-raid for many years. As early as the 2007 Dakar, she was at the wheel of a BMW X3. In 2016 she contested several races in a CBRA Buggy. Back then, Philipp Beier was her co-driver at such events as the Sealine Cross Country Rally in Qatar. In Spain, Kleinschmidt will drive a MINI ALL4 Racing in a Baja for the first time. She intends to use this outing as practice for Extreme E, where she lines up alongside Mattias Ekström, who is also in action in Spain. The Swede has enjoyed some good results recently in the Buggy, and is now switching to the 4×4 to gain more valuable experience.
For Carneiro, this is the first event in an X-raid vehicle. The Portuguese driver’s performance at the 2020 Rally Andalucía earned him a place at the 2021 Dakar Rally, where he finished 26th overall in a CanAm. Carneiro even made it into the top ten on three stages.
Annett Fischer lines up alongside a new co-driver in the SxS. Ioannis Ganotis is an engineer at X-raid and responsible for developing the Yamaha XZY1000R prototype. His start at the Baja Espana will allow him to experience the vehicle from a totally different perspective and learn valuable lessons for the Yamaha project. X-raid took a similar approach with the CBRA in 2015. Back then, it was Philipp Beier who took his place in the passenger seat to gain knowledge for the further development and improvement of the Buggy and, if needed, to help out with his mechanical background.