REGUENGOS DE MONSARAZ (PORTUGAL): South Racing’s Portuguese driver Ricardo Porém followed up his second position in last month’s Baja de Loulé with a convincing victory at Baja Capital Dos Vinhos de Portugal, round two of the Portuguese National Championship of Cross-Country Rallies (CNTT), on Sunday.
Porém and co-driver Hugo Magalhães, driving a Ford Ranger run by the German car preparations company, won the Prologue and both runs through the 141.07km special stage to finish the two-day event 5min 46sec in front of Helder Oliviera. The result also gave the Portuguese crew the outright lead in the prestigious and well-supported off-road championship.
“There were tough and difficult conditions on the race and the rate of attrition was high,” said South Racing’s managing director Scott Abraham. “But this was a superb result for us. All the development work we carried out between the two races has paid off. We’ve made some big steps with Reiger as well and we are comfortable where we are with the car.”
The Baja got underway with two passes through a Prologue stage of 4.14km on Saturday morning. This preceded two special stages of 141.07km in a route of over 400km. João Ramos had won the first round in his Toyota and arrived in southern Portugal with a five-point championship lead over Porém, with Pedro Ferreira a further five points behind.
Porém made the perfect start on the Prologue and the fastest time of 6min 24.95sec gave the Portuguese prime position to attack on the first of the two longer stages. Alejandro Martins was 21.59sec slower than the Ford Ranger driver and Helder Oliveira was third. Issues for series leader Ramos meant he incurred a 30-minute penalty that severely dented his hopes of winning a second successive round of the series.
Porém extended his advantage to 4min 01.95sec by winning the first of the two special stages by 3min 30sec from Oliveira. Nuno Madeira was third. The Ford Ranger driver made no mistake on the second run through the special either and a time of 1hr 45min 22sec was sufficient to set yet another fastest time and earn the win by the winning margin of 5min 46sec.
The event was based at Reguengos de Monsaraz, a municipality in the Évora district of the Alentejo region of southern Portugal.
Round three of the competitive national series is the Baja do Pinhal, which takes place on June 16-17.
2017 Baja Capital Dos Vinhos de Portugal – final positions
1. Ricardo Porém (PRT)/Hugo Magalhães (PRT) Ford Ranger 3hr 38min 41sec
2. Helder Oliviera (PRT)/Pedro Lima (PRT) Nissan Navara V8 3hr 44min 27sec
3. Pedro Fereira (PRT)/Valter Cardosa (PRT) VW Amarok 3hr 50min 06sec
4. Alexandre Franco (PRT)/Rui Franco (PRT) BMW Evo XI 3hr 51min 27sec
5. Henrique Silva (PRT)/Rui Gomez (PRT) Mini Cattiva 3hr 59min 14sec
6. Pedro da Silva (PRT)/José Janela (PRT) Mazda Proto 4hr 08min 56sec, etc