World Rally-Raid Championship

European Baja Cup kicks off with attrition-heavy Baja TT Dehesa Extremadura

5 Mins read
Credit: Benediktas Vanagas

After narrowly missing out on the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid win in April, João Ferreira began the 2024 FIA European Baja Cup strong as he survived a brutal Baja TT Dehesa Extremadura that eliminated much of the field.

Only twenty-seven of the forty-one FIA cars finished the race, including just half of the fourteen in Ultimate alongside Ferreira, as the rest were eliminated by mechanical failures brought upon by the punishing Spanish terrain. This was particularly evident during the Prologue, where the final thirty kilometres ran through a training range on Base General Menacho de Bótoa that is used by the Spanish Army for tanks. Increased rainfall in recent days added to the conditions, creating a bumpy course riddled with holes that caked everyone in mud and basically doubled as a suspension test. Benediktas Vanagas, a member of the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces, quipped it was the “most interesting speed section” he had ever raced and that while “Abrams and Leopards feel good (driving this), off-road vehicles have a hard time though this is not the case for the Toyota GR DKR Hilux.”

Vanagas may have had high praise for the tank polygon, but his Hilux did not make it through unscathed either as his right-front wheel rim broke after hitting a rock three kilometres from the finish; he ended up as one of the seven Ultimate retirements when his engine expired in the final stage. João Ramos, another favourite in the class, bowed out after going off course and losing too much time in the overall, while Edgar Canet was the top bike in the Prologue but a mechanical failure knocked him out. The first race for GPR Sport‘s new GPR 24 buggy, an upgrade from their GPR 22, retired as well with Félix Macías behind the wheel. Eduard Pons did not start the race due to health reasons.

Ramos’ retirement propelled Ferreira into the overall lead ahead of Francisco Barreto, and the 2022 European Baja champion kept Barreto at bay for the victory. Maria Luís Gameiro finished third to secure two podium spots for Mini.

“The first stage was really demanding for ourselves and for the car. The terrain was very hard,” said Ferreira. “This last stage was fast and very enjoyable to drive, some tricky in some parts, very narrow and twisty.”

With their overall win, Ferreira and co-driver Filipe Palmeiro are the first ever European Cup Ultimate points leaders. The FIA added trophies for Ultimate across the three Baja Cups, as well as category-specific co-driver trophies for all four divisions, ahead of Extremadura. Prior to this, Ultimate drivers could only go for the all-class Baja title.

Rui Carneiro edged out Alexandre Pinto for the Challenger win by just nine seconds, while Armindo Araújo rounded out the podium in Santag Racing‘s début race in an OT3 from GRallyTeam. Araújo beat Pau Navarro for third in the European Cup as well as the T3 win in the Spanish Cross-Country Rally Championship (CERTT). Navarro, racing a Demon Car DT3, notched the maiden rally podium for GRS Team, a junior single-seater team and newcomer to off-road racing; team boss Josep Trinidad finished eighth in CERTT T4 (equivalent to the FIA’s SSV class) after receiving an early penalty.

After having to call off their 2024 Dakar Rally plans due to a non-compliant Polaris RZR Pro R, Kamena Rally Team got the car certified in time for Extremadura to take the SSV victory with Tomasz Białkowski. It was their second win in an international Baja after claiming the class in the 2022 Extremadura event.

Carlos Vento was disqualified after exiting the second Selective Section to repair his car at a nearby house before rejoining. Vento had been looking for a flat location to work on the vehicle, but doing so was in blatant violation of Article 49.1.7 of FIA regulations (“Servicing in a closed and/or private place is not authorised. If a vehicle is serviced inside a closed tent, the Clerk of the Course must be informed and any official of the event must be allowed to enter the tent at any time.”).

Bruno Santos, fresh off dominating the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid in the Rally2 class, continued his winning ways by topping the FIM Bajas World Cup side. He beat David Megre by seven minutes and Pedro Bianchi Prata, the latter third in Rally3 in Portugal, by half an hour.

FIM points leader Mohammed Al-Balooshi, who won the season-opening Saudi Baja in February, struggled with navigation troubles that included a roadbook error. His bike eventually gave up in the final run, prompting fellow rider Pedro Pinheiro to tow him to the finish in twelfth.

Like the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid, Extremadura takes place on the Iberian Peninsula and crosses between Spain and Ferreira’s native Portugal; both races also crossed through the Spanish city of Badajoz. Otherwise, the former is organised by the Automóvel Club de Portugal while Spain’s Real Federación Española de Automovilismo oversees the Baja.

Overall results



1200João FerreiraFilipe PalmeiroX-raid Mini JCW TeamMini John Cooper Works Rally PlusT1+5:13:35.3Leader
2205Francisco BarretoCarlos DuarteFrancisco BarretoToyota HiluxT1+5:18:01.4+ 4:26.1
3208Maria Luís GameiroJosé MarquesMaria Luís GameiroMini John Cooper Works Rally PlusT1+5:49:10.4+ 35:35.1
4211Dave KlaassenTessa RoothDaklaPack RallysportRed-Lined VK56T1.15:53:57.7+ 40:22.4
5215Pim KlaassenJeffrey SpoorDaklaPack RallysportRed-Lined VK50T1.16:04:07.7+ 50:32.4
6201Benediktas VanagasKuldar SikkToyota Gazoo Racing BalticsToyota HiluxT1+9:13:35.5+ 4:00:00.2
7206Włodzimierz GrajekMichał GoleniewskiWłodzimierz GrajekToyota GR DKR HiluxT1+13:43:51.1+ 8:30:15.8
DNF202Michał MałuszyńskiŁukasz KurzejaMichał MałuszyńskiMini John Cooper Works Rally PlusT1+DNFN/A
DNF204João RamosJorge CarvalhoJoão RamosToyota HiluxT1+DNFN/A
DNF209José Luis GarcíaManuel NavarroEscudería Villa de LlanesMini John Cooper Works Rally PlusT1.1DNFN/A
DNF210Henrique SilvaHenrique DamásioHenrique SilvaMercedes CaTTiva Proto XT1.1DNFN/A
DNF212Ronald SchooldermanMark Salomons4×4 Centrum ErmeloMitsubishi ASXT1.1DNFN/A
DNF204Rik van den BrinkGydo HeimansRik van den BrinkMitsubishi ASXT1.1DNFN/A
DNS203Eduard PonsJaume BetriuPast-RacingFord Ranger T1+T1+DNSN/A


1306Rui CarneiroOla FloeneGRallyTeamGRally OT35:21:28.6Leader
2305Alexandre PintoBernardo OliveiraAlexandre PintoCan-Am Maverick X35:21:37.9+ 9.3
3303Armindo AraújoPedro RéSantag RacingGRally OT35:27:22.1+ 5:53.5
4300Pau NavarroIan RosaGRS TeamDemon Car DT35:28:12.5+ 6:43.9
5311Nuno MadeiraNuno MoraisNuno MadeiraCan-Am Maverick X35:2:38.5+ 7:09.9
6304Adam KusMarcin PasekGRallyTeamGRally OT35:32:19.2+ 10:50.6
7302Fernando ÁlvarezXavier PanseriGRallyTeamGRally OT35:52:52:2+ 31:23.6
8314Nelson BeiróRicardo BatistaNelson BeiróCan-Am Maverick X36:10:57.6+ 49:29.0
9317Nuno RogéiroPedro SantosNuno RogéiroCan-Am Maverick X36:39:47.6+ 1:18:19.0
10315Enrique ReyesJaqueline RicciGedeser XXI S.L.VM Competición T3 ordaz-R6:48:51.0+ 1:27:22.4
11301João DiasJoão MirandaSantag RacingGRally OT38:35:13.6+ 3:13:45.0
12312Jose Maria NaranjoJose Antonio AlvarezEscudería JMP RacingJMP Racing JMPRT39:06:48.7+ 3:45:20.1
DNF307Jesús FusterCarlos FernandezHerrador Factory TeamHerrator Inzane X3DNFN/A
DNF308Paulo Jorge RodriguesMiguel Salvador FranciscoPaulo Jorge RodriguesCan-Am Maverick X3DNFN/A
DNF309Nicolás FuchsAlex TorilEscudería JMP RacingJMP Racing JMPRT3DNFN/A
DNF310Félix MacíasJosé Luis CondeGPR SportGR Sport GPR 24DNFN/A
DNF316Pedro CarvalhoRomeu MartinsPedro CarvalhoCan-Am Maverick X3DNFN/A
DNF318Roberto Rodríguez GamboaClaudi Ribeiro LeiteRoberto Rodríguez GamboaHerrator Inzane X3DNFN/A


1401Tomasz BiałkowskiDariusz BaśkiewiczKamena Rally TeamCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR5:31:33.4Leader
2406Federico Guillermo MogniDavid Aguando FernandezTH-Trucks TeamPolaris RZR Pro R5:52:00.3+ 20:26.9
3400Fidel Castillo RuizFausto MotaAhúja RacingCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR5:57:42.0+ 26:08.6
4404Miquel Prat MartinezDaniel Oliveira CarrerasMoto Club SabadellYamaha YXZ1000R6:31:30.5+ 59:57.1
5403William BullerJorge JordaoWilliam BullerYamaha YXZ1000R7:00:50.5+ 1:29:17.1
6402Rui FarinhaRui PitaSantag RacingCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR7:31:14.7+ 1:59:41.3
7407Rafael MuñozDaniel CámaraFederación Andaluza de AutomovilismoCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR13:43:03.5+ 8:11:30.1
DSQ405Carlos VentoJulián GarciaCarlos VentoCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RRDSQN/A


1500Fernano Manuel BarreirosRui Pereira AntónioFernano Manuel BarreirosIsuzu D-Max7:27:39.8Leader



12Bruno SantosBruno SantosHusqvarna FR 450 Rally728:10.5Leader
221David MegreDavid MegreKawasaki KX450X7:35:41.0+ 7:30.5
317Pedro Bianchi PrataPedro Bianchi PrataHonda CRF450RX8:02:14.0+ 34:03.5
498Sara Garcia #Sara GarciaYamaha WR450F Rally8:17:35.9+ 49:25.4
547Rafa MarquesRafa MarquesFantic XEF 450 Rally8:23:03.6+ 54:53.1
650Rafic BassamRafic BassamHonda CRF450RX8:23:06.0+ 54:55.5
727Joanna Modrzewska #DUUST Rally TeamHusqvarna FE 4508:32:27.0+ 1:04:16.5
854Slawomir SypienDUUST Rally TeamHusqvarna FR 450 Rally8:34:35.2+ 1:06:24.7
952Abdulhaim Al-MogeeraAbdulhaim Al-MogeeraKTM 450 EXC8:40:58.4+ 1:12:47.9
1055Filip GrotFilip GrotGasGas RX 450F Replica8:41:30.1+ 1:13:19.6
1130Robert PrzybyłowskiRobert PrzybyłowskiKTM 450 EXC9:02:10.0+ 1:33:59.5
121Mohammed Al-BalooshiMohammed Al-BalooshiKTM 450 EXC9:03:56.6+ 1:35:56.1
1375Abdullah AlshattiAbdullah AlshattiKTM 450 EXC9:04:52.+ 1:36.42.4
1410Tomasz NiedźwiedzkiTomasz NiedźwiedzkiGasGas RX 450F Replica9:15:51.2+ 1:47:40.7
1532Josep Pedró SubiratsPedrega TeamGasGas RX 450F Replica11:05:17.8+ 3:37:07.3
1653Pedro PinheiroPedro PinheiroHusqvarna FR 450 Rally11:23:58.3+ 3:55:47.8
1762Andrew HoulihanAndrew HoulihanKTM 450 EXC11:29:46.6+ 4:01:36.1
1825Paulo CardosoPaulo CardosoKawasaki KX450X11:39:27.8+ 4:11:17.3
DNF73Edgar CanetEdgar CanetKTM 450 EXCDNFN/A
DNF76Tiago SantosTiago SantosAJP SPR 310RDNFN/A
Bold – Junior Trophy
Italics – Veteran Trophy
# – Women Trophy


1110Abdulaziz Al-ShaybanAbdulaziz Al-ShaybanYamaha Raptor8:45:34.6Leader
2109Hani Al-NoumesiHani Al-NoumesiYamaha Raptor8:55:48.2+ 10:13.6
3101Haitham Al-TuwayjiriHaitham Al-TuwayjiriYamaha Raptor17:31:19.4+ 8:45:44.8

CERTT winners

T1700Santiago Carnicer ColomerSantiago Carnicer ColomerToyota Hilux Overdrive5:29:15.0
T1N705Diego Villanueva CapoteDiego Villanueva CapoteToyota Hilux6:12:25.8
T2500Fernano Manuel BarreirosFernano Manuel BarreirosIsuzu D-Max7:31:04.8
T3303Armingo AraújoSantag RacingGRally OT35:27:22.1
T4406Federico Guillermo MogniTH-Trucks TeamPolaris RZR Pro R5:47:49.3
T8722Raúl Ortiz CorreaAutomóvil Club Sol y NieveToyota RAV45:09:08.5
SSV800Mario Exequiel Morillo Del RioFederación Andaluza de AutomovilismoPolaris RZR XP Turbo5:44:35.2
Enduro99Javi VegaJavi VegaYamaha WR450 Rally5:46:06.1
Quad102David GomezDavid GomezYamaha YFZ450R6:21:38.8
Trail40Carlos Diaz RoyCarlos Diaz RoyKTM 500 EXC-F6:10:22.9
Maxitrail100Joan PedreroHarley-DavidsonHarley-Davidson Pan America 12505:58:25.7
Women98Sara GarciaSara GarciaYamaha WR450F Rally6:15:02.0
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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