Saudi Baja: Strong third place for Holowczyc
- Nothing forgotten about driving in the desert
- Exciting Baja around Ha’il
Just two weeks after the Dakar Rally ended on 15 January 2023, the X-raid team returned to Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Baja, the first event in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, was on the agenda. The two Poles Krzysztof Holowczyc and Lukasz Kurzeja competed in the MINI JCW Rally Plus and secured third place.
In recent years, Holowczyc had concentrated on European Bajas. With the Saudi Baja, he returned to the desert after a long absence. The Pole showed right from the start that he has not forgotten how to drive on sand and in the dunes.
It was an exciting Baja around Ha’il for Holowczyc and Kurzeja: In the prologue, the two missed a waypoint due to a communication error and received a two-minute time penalty. In Friday’s special stage, a competitor was involved in an accident with another vehicle. Holowczyc and Kurzeja stopped to help. Later they got the lost time credited back. So they started the last stage as second overall and were able to keep this position at first. However, they were going too fast in a speed limit zone and received a 15-minute time penalty. This caused them to drop to third place in the overall standings.
Krzysztof Holowczyc: “We are happy with third place. Even though it is disappointing that we lost second position. I haven’t raced in the desert for eight years. I first had to find the right pace and get to know the dunes again. For Lukasz it actually was the first time ever.”
The MINI JCW Rally Plus will remain on the Arabian Peninsula after the Saudi Baja. The next rally for the X-raid team is the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge at the end of February.
Saudi Baja – overall standings
1. N. Al-Attiyah / M. Baumel – Toyota – 3h 56m 17s
2. J. Yacopini / D. Oliveras – Toyota – 4h 15m 19s
3. K. Holowczyc / L. Kurzeja – MINI JCW Rally Plus – 4h 26m 36s
4. S. Alsaif / N. Alkuwari – Can-Am – 4h 33m 28s
5. Y. Seaidan / A. Kuzmich – Can-Am – 4h 33m 37s