The Bajas European Championship was held yesterday and today in Hajdúszoboszló (Hungary) with the Aqua-Palace Cup, the first round of the 20th anniversary season of the Hungarian Cross-Country Rally Championship.
Aqua-Palace Cup is organised for the second time in Hajdúszoboszló, a famous spa town in the Eastern part of Hungary. The event is organised taking full advantage of the location mixing cross-country rally with… wellness! In practice this means that the rally is scheduled in a way to make it possible for the riders and drivers to try the wellness facilities in the evenings. This concept was a great success last year, so this year organisers decided to go on with it. The weekend was characterised with extreme conditions due to heavy rain falls, with tracks becoming more and more muddy and slippery.
Among the bikes by the end of the first half of the day Hungarian Richárd Hodola took the lead from Italy’s Andrea Brunod who slowed down as he felt the tracks becoming too dangerous for bikes because of the mud. Brunod finally finished the day in 3rd place with a 11 minute road penalty, behind the two Hungarians, Richárd Hodola and Lajos “Laller” Horváth. On Sunday, the last three specials virtually didn’t bring too many changes in the top of the classification. Actually European Championship newcomer Hungarian Richárd Hodola had nervous moments during the day as due to an unforeseen tyre change he was 21 minutes late after the service and so received the same amount of penalty. In spite of this, finally his half-an-hour advantage proved to be enough to stay in the lead in front of fellow Hungarian Lajos “Laller” Horváth and Italy’s Andrea Brunod.
Among quads, after a cautious start on Friday, defending European Champion Lukasz Laskawiec took the lead early in the Saturday specials and soon increased his advantage over four minutes. Behind the Pole, Hungary’s Zoltán Hangodi and Czech Tomas Kubiena fought for the second place with the Hungarian, last year’s runner-up in the European Championship, snatching the position from his Czech rival. Poland’s Lukasz Lewy clocked the 4th time in front of Hungarian Mátyás Somfai, winner of Friday’s prologue. On Sunday, a serious accident forced Hungarian Zoltán Hangodi to retire. The rider was injured on his foot and a vertebra. Czech Tomas Kubiena, shaken due to the accident of his friend, inherited the runner-up position and kept it until the finish line in front of Poland’s Lukasz Lewy, who did an excellent job especially on the last day, winning one of the specials and being second on one more. Victory in the quad category went to defending European Champion Lukasz Laskawiec, who built up a huge advantage on Saturday and managed to keep his rivals under control on Sunday.
The next round is scheduled on the weekend starting the 29th of July in Stalowa Wola (Poland).