The Hungarian Baja (August 5-8) marks the sixth round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas and the second event in the newly-created FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas. Based near Várpalota for the second year, the event will provide yet another challenge for the crews as they return to the military stages in the picturesque forests of Bakonyerdő. Running for the 17th year and for the 10th time in the World Cup, the mix of conditions in the heart of central Europe set the scene as this year’s title battles begin to hot up.
Yasir Seaidan and Alexey Kuzmich maintain a commanding lead in the FIA World Cup standings, the Saudi Arabian/Russian crew amassing two victories together so far this season. As such, the MINI John Cooper Works Rally crew head the provisional entry list and are gunning for World Cup glory with four rounds remaining. Fellow compatriot Yazeed Al Rajhi – who is competing in Hungary for the first time - is however chasing hard and he and British co-driver Michael Orr need another top result to close the gap and mount an assault on the title. The two Saudi Arabian drivers are split by 27.5 points as the series heads into the second half of its season.
Regular contenders Miroslav Zapletal – reigning Hungarian rally raid champion - and Marek Sykora will once again be in action in their Ford F150 Evo, the Czech/Slovak crew needing a repeat of their second place on March’s Sharqiyah International Baja to boost their points tally. Poland’s Krzysztof Hołowczyc and Lukasz Kurzeja make their second consecutive outing in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas and will be piloting X-Raid’s MINI John Cooper Works Rally in Hungary.
Michal and Julita Małuszyński are in another MINI, and Pál Lónyai and Attila Csató fly the flag for Hungary as the lead national crew on the entry list in their LPR Porsche Macan ahead of three other T1 entries. T3 is headed by Santiago Navarro and Marc Sola in an Overdrive OT3. The Spaniard finished third on his lasting outing on home territory and needs a top result to close the gap to Dania Akeel, the Saudi Arabian driver leading the T3 standings. She has entered an RM Sport Mamba for Hungary, her first event in Europe. Mshari Al-Thefiri and Nasser Al-Kuwari head the T4 category standings by six points over Frenchman Claude Fournier, the Kuwaiti with four second position to his name. Saleh Al-Saif and Sébastien Delaunay are entered in a BRP Can-Am Maverick XRS, as are Alexandre and Pedro Ré, category winners last time out on Baja España Aragon.