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VESZPRÉM (HUNGARY): Danish driver Jes Munk will join forces with Overdrive Racing for the first time alongside Poland’s Marek Dabrowski and Dutchman Bernhard Ten Brinke to form a three-car team for this weekend’s Hungarian Baja. 


After undergoing a heart procedure in July, Russian driver Vladimir Vasilyev remains on the sidelines on medical grounds and will not return to competitive action as originally hoped at the Veszprém-based event, which starts on Friday, August 14th and finishes on Sunday, August 16th


The Russian currently has a 21-point lead in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and will be hoping that he maintains a series lead before he is giving the all clear to rejoin the championship. He was forced to miss last month’s Baja Spain Aragon, but benefited from the fact that nearest championship rival, Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah of Qatar, failed to finish the Teruel-based event and status quo prevailed at the top of the points’ standings. 


Dabrowski and Jacek Czachor crew the Team Orlen-backed Toyota in Hungary’s premier off-road event that is based at the historic baroque town of Veszprém, which is situated 15km north of Lake Balaton and 110km from the Hungarian capital of Budapest. 


Overdrive Racing won the event last year, when Al-Attiyah was a member of the team, and Vasilyev finished second overall, with Dabrowski in eighth in a second Overdrive Toyota. The Pole currently holds fourth place in the championship standings. 


Munk’s first appearance with Overdrive Racing will be alongside the former Dakar enduro rider Jean Brucy reading his pace notes. Both the Dane and the Frenchman tackled the Dakar on two wheels and Munk was the first Dane ever to finish the event on a motorcycle and in a car.


Munk suffered a serious motorcycle crash in 2013, broke numerous bones in his body and remained in a coma for 15 days. After a long recovery, he took the decision to switch to competing on four wheels and tackled this year’s Dakar in a Buggy, finishing 55th overall.


“My goal on the Dakar was to become the first Dane to finish the event in a car and on a motorcycle and I achieved that and now I have teamed up with Overdrive Racing and am looking forward to this event very much,” said Munk. 


Ten Brinke teamed up with Overdrive Racing at the Dakar in January and finished a fine seventh overall with Belgian navigator Tom Colsoul. The pair join forces again in Hungary and occupy the third V8-powered Toyota Hilux. 


“We are midway through a very busy four weeks for the entire team, with the Baja in Spain, the win for Reinaldo Varela in Brazil on Saturday and then two Bajas in Hungary and Poland in the space of three weeks,” said Overdrive Racing’s team director Jean-Marc Fortin. 


“I extend a warm welcome to Jes and Jean and hope that they will enjoy the Hungarian Baja as part of Overdrive Racing. We have a strong three-car team and will be trying to keep our rivals at bay and give Vladimir every chance of winning the FIA World Cup when he is given the all clear to return to action.”


The event is being organised by Garzone Racing Organisation Promotion Limited in conjunction with the FIA and the National Automobilsport Federation of Hungary (MNASZ). 


Administration checks will take place at Nyirád Motorsport Centrum on Thursday afternoon (August 13) and Friday (August 14) morning, before the ceremonial start and the first 2.5km super special stage take place on Friday evening in Veszprém.


Two timed selective sections are planned for Saturday and a final stage brings the competitive action to a close on Sunday morning (August 16) before the prize giving takes centre stage in Veszprém Aréna. In a total route of around 706km, approximately 518.5km will be timed against the clock.


FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies – positions after round 6:

1. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)                           171 pts  

2. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)                              150 pts   

3. Reinaldo Varela (BRA)                              97 pts    

4. Marek Dabrowski (POL)                           82 pts

5. Erik van Loon (NLD)                                    72 pts

6. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)                              66 pts 

6. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)                            66 pts  

8. Orlando Terranova (ARG)                        37 pts 

9. Harry Hunt (GBR)                                         32 pts

10. Joan Roma (ESP)                                       30 pts

10. Tapio Suominen (FIN)                            30 pts