South Racing faces a busy weekend in the baking heat and dust of a summer in central Spain, when it fields five cars in Baja Spain Aragón, round seven of this year’s FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. The event is based in the area around Teruel and takes place on July 21-23.
Xevier Pons, a former WRC star and one of Spain’s leading rally drivers, returns to cross-country rallying for the first time since his premature crash at the Dakar Rally and drives a DMAS South Racing Ford Ranger. He teams up with Argentina’s Ruben Garcia, with whom he finished second overall in Portugal’s Baja Portalegre last October.
Portugal’s Ricardo Porém has been tackling rounds of the Portuguese National Championship of Cross-Country Rallies (CNTT) this season with South Racing and leads the series after a win in Baja Capital Dos Vinhos de Portugal and the runner-up spot in Baja de Loulé. This weekend’s Spanish event is also the opening round of the four-race Iberian Cross-Country Cup and the Portuguese teams up with navigator Hugo Magalhães in a second South Racing Ford Ranger.
The Czech driver Tomáš Ouřednīček finished 12th in last year’s Baja round of the FIA World Cup in Poland and has been taking part in smaller Central European events this season. He and co-driver David Křīpal crew the third of the Ford Rangers.
Fernando Alvarez achieved one of his best ever performances with fourth overall in the recent Italian Baja. The Spaniard again teams up with Argentinean co-driver Juan-Pablo Monasterolo to crew the fourth South Racing entry – a Conarpesa-backed Toyota.
The father and son duo of Germany’s Jürgen and Maximilian Schröder were deprived of a finish in Italy recently by a late accident that damaged their car’s suspension. They have tackled several rounds of this year’s FIA World Cup with South Racing and finished 23rd at the gruelling Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and an excellent eighth in Qatar’s Cross-Country Rally. The German duo again use their customary Nissan Navara.
“Spain has always been a special event for me and the team,” said South Racing’s managing director Scott Abraham. “It was our first international event in 2014 with Nazereno Lopez and Chino Yacopini and also my first event when I started my career in Europe in 2003.
“We have a very strong line-up this year but, for sure, we will face very strong competition this year. The team has its third double header of the year with Rodrigo Gutierrez and Blas Zapag racing the Desafio Paraguay on the same weekend. The team has done a great job of getting the cars prepared, as well as all the freight that left this week to Brazil, Argentina and Peru for the remaining round of the CODESUR Championship and Sertoes.”
This year’s Spanish round of the FIA World Cup features revised special stages in the remote rural areas around the town of Teruel.
Teams will tackle a super special stage of 9.6km on Friday evening (July 21) and then two longer selective sections of 216.80km and 139.20km on Saturday. The competitive action draws to a close with a single stage of 178.70km on Sunday (July 23).