Fighting to win the FIA ??World Cup in Bajas, Bernhard Ten Brinke was the strongest and won the Baja Portalegre 500. In an edition marked by very difficult conditions, the Toyota Hilux driver secured the win in the ultimate selective sector. Guillaume De Mévius still dreamed of the possibility of winning with an SSV, but had to settle for second place, 1m17.1s away from the first. At the bottom of the podium was another candidate for victory at the World Cup, Vladimir Vasilyev. The Russian conceded 1'20.3 ??to Ten Brinke.
The 34th edition of Baja Portalegre will be marked by the unique conditions in which it was held. The pandemic led the Automóvel Club de Portugal to take very demanding measures so that the race could go to the tracks of Alto Alentejo. The unstable weather conditions, in particular, on the first day of the competition, created a context similar to the editions that contributed to turn this event into the queen of the national TT.
It was in this scenario that the competitors of the FIA ??Bajas World Cup and the TT Portugal Championship entered into competition. At the start, and with the rain falling copiously, Vladimir Vasilyev set the best time. The first selective sector was short and served, essentially, to define the order in which the first ones would go out to the track in the afternoon sector.
Then, conditions worsened and only nine competitors managed to complete the 75 kilometers between Ponte de Sor and Cabeço de Vide. The sudden rise of the water level on the streams forced the organization to interrupt the race and most ended up taking the route in liaison.
In spite of everything, several pilots did not resist and were out of the race. The national champions of 2016 and 2019, Nuno Matos and Tiago Reis, respectively, were stranded on a river and were no longer able to continue running. Miguel Barbosa, who became national champion at the time he entered the race at the Baja Portalegre 500 could not fight for the victory, which would be the fourth, because the assisted steering of his Toyota Hilux gave way.
Without problems, Guillaume De Mévius was unstoppable and ended the day ahead of the qualifying with Pedro Dias da Silva in second and Bernhard Ten Brinke to be third.
For the second stage, and due to the weather, the organization had to reorganize the competition. Instead of two sectors, one with 170 and the other with 180 kilometers, the competitors traveled only 80 kilometers.
De Mévius had less distance to defend the leadership. Competition also missed opportunities to regain ground. But with an impeccable performance, Ten Brinke "flew". The pace was such that the Dutchman climbed to the first place and achieved, for the first time, the victory in the mythic event of the national TT. This triumph continues a trend of dominance by foreign pilots, after the victory of Joan Roma, in 2018, and Orlando Terranova, in 2019.
"I am very satisfied. It was not an easy weekend. It was very difficult. In particular, the first day. It was really hard, with lots of water, very deep streams. We survived this stage. The second stage, despite being shortened, was technical and very enjoyable. We moved quickly to get the victory ”, exclaimed the Dutch driver.
Despite not being able to defend his place at the helm, De Mévius closed his performance in second of the general classification. In search of points for the World Cup, Vladimir Vasilyev also "flew" and recorded the same time as Ten Brinke in the last sector.
Another highlight is the competitiveness shown by the SSVs that compete among automobiles. In the top ten, five Can Am finished, with particular emphasis on De Mévius, who finished second, and Aron Domzala, who finished fourth.
Alejandro Martins was the best at CPTT
Sixth in the overall standings, Alejandro Martins was the best among the competitors who scored for the Portugal TT Championship. The Mini driver thus added the score for the first place, but Miguel Barbosa, who made the absolute national champion for the eighth time in his career, made the party.