DakarWorld Rally-Raid Championship

Rokas Baciuska returning to Toyota Hilux for Saudi Baja ahead of 2025 W2RC campaign

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Credit: Rokas Baciuška

While committed to racing a Can-Am Maverick in the Challenger class for the 2024 World Rally-Raid Championship, Rokas Baciuška plans to graduate to the top-level Ultimate category for 2025. He will take another step towards that goal on 8–10 February when he enters the Saudi Baja in a Toyota Hilux T1+ from Overdrive Racing.

The Saudi Baja, the first round on the 2024 FIA World Baja Cup calendar, will be his second race in a Hilux. He made his Ultimate (then T1) début at the 2023 Baja España Aragón, where he finished ninth overall after a late penalty and tyre puncture ruined what was otherwise a third-place effort. The one-off came during a successful campaign in the W2RC as he won his second consecutive T4 (now SSV) class championship, building such a massive advantage in the standings that he already clinched it before the penultimate race; this allowed him to skip said round and move up to Challenger/T3 for the season finale without consequence. Baciuška retired from his maiden T3 race at the Rallye du Maroc.

He began 2024 by finishing third in class at the Dakar Rally. Since winner Cristina Gutiérrez is not racing for points, Baciuška sits second in the Challenger standings behind Mitch Guthrie.

“SSV and forest are good, but car and sand are even better,” said Baciuška. “We had little time to rest after Dakar. We rested but not a lot because of a short turnaround. I’m going to Saudi Arabia next week to Baja Hail where I will race a T1+ Ultimate with Toyota Overdrive. Our main goal is to compete in the 2025 Dakar Rally and World Championship with this car.”

Overdrive Racing is one of two W2RC teams that fields the Hilux along with Toyota Gazoo Racing. Guillaume de Mévius and Guerlain Chicherit combined to win three stages for Overdrive at the Dakar, and the former finished runner-up overall.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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