Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Baja Aragon condensed by Spanish elections

The Baja España Aragón was supposed to be a three-day adventure through eastern Spain, but more pressing matters have forced it to be pushed up and condensed into a tighter schedule. On Friday, race officials announced that due to the upcoming Spanish general election on 23 July, the rally will take place in full on 21/22 July.

The event was originally set for 21–23 July, starting with a Prologue stage for cars on Friday before linking up with bikes for the next two days. With the election now set for the final day, the race will begin on Friday with a Prologue for both classes before running the entire event on Saturday.

Officials came up with the new itinerary after negotiating with the FIA, Real Federación Española de Automovilismo, and Real Federación Motociclista Española, the latter two respectively overseeing automobile and motorcycle competition in Spain.

“After extensive discussions and reaching an agreement with the FIA, RFDEA, RFME, and other involved institutions, it has been decided that the two stages will now take place in their entirety on Friday, July 21st, and Saturday, July 22nd. This includes the prologue stage for motorbikes and cars, which will be held on the morning of Friday, July 21st,” reads a statement. “The organizers would like to express their gratitude to the regional and local institutions, as well as the State Security Forces, for their cooperation in minimizing any potential disruptions that could affect the national and international teams.

“The 39th edition of Baja España Aragón will kick off on Wednesday, July 19th, with the initial formalities taking place in the Service Park, once again situated at the Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones de Teruel.”

The election was called by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Tuesday amid losses for his party in the regional and local elections earlier in the week. Spain’s parliament Cortes Generales was also dissolved that day, opening the door to an earlier general election than previously expected.

Interestingly, the Baja España Aragón’s rescheduling marks the second time in 2023 that an FIA cross-country rally was impacted by elections. The Rally Greece OffRoad, the second round of the FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, was moved from May to mid-June due to Greek legislative elections.

The Baja España Aragón is the fourth round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.