Miguel Barbosa couldn’t for a better return to off-roading. The Portuguese driver not only won the Prologue, but also set the best time during the 69.03 km of the afternoon’s SS2. A pace that made Barbosa and his co-driver Pedro Velosa the overall leaders after the first day of the Baja Portalegre 500.
But nothing is decided yet. Orlando Terranova, second in the FIA’s World Cup for Cross Country Bajas, is second, a mere 23.5 seconds adrift. The third spot is held by another major name taking part at the Baja. Last year’s winner of the ACP event, Nani Roma (Borgward BX7 Dkr EVO) trails at 1:13.7s from Barbosa.
Jakub Przygonski (Mini John Cooper Works Rally), third in the World Cup, and the overall leader of the FIA’s Bajas classification, the Russian Vladimir Vasilyev (Toyota Hilux) round up the Top 5. A set of results that, at the moment, inverts the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas general classification.
Hélder Oliveira is sixth after an afternoon stage with some problems with the steering of his Mini All4 Racing. Tiago Reis (Mitsubishi Lancer), second placed in the National off-road championship, had a small off-track incursion and ended the day in seventh. Meanwhile, the leader of the National championship, Alexandre Ré (Volkswagen Amarock), is eight.
Alexandre Franco (BMW Evo X1) and César Sequeira (Mini Paceman) are the last two names in the Top 10, while Pedro Dias da Silva (Ford Proto), another of the national title hopefuls, is 13th.
Meanwhile, the 2018 Portuguese Off-road Champion, João Ramos, stopped at km 36 with mechanical problems on his Toyota Hilyx, while Ricardo Porém lost the Borgward BX7 Dkr EVO’s steering at km 30, which explains his 20th position at the moment.
Tha Baja Portalegre 500 resumes tomorrow with the last two stages totaling 385.31 km against the clock.