Tuesday 26 March 2013
Catalan rally ace, Xavi Foj, continued his run of success with Cooper Tires to take an impressive podium at the 20th Italian Baja over the weekend of March 16-17, finishing third overall in the T2 production class.
Completing the race with his Toyota Land Cruiser 150 on the same type of Cooper rubber that took him to his second successive production class victory in the infamous Dakar Rally – the Cooper Discoverer S/T Maxx – Foj and his team performed extremely well in the altogether different format of the Baja to finish just over two minutes adrift of the class victor. The Italian Baja, which is part of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, is something of a ‘sprint’ race in comparison to the 9,000-kilometre Dakar Rally, which Spaniard Foj has contested a remarkable 23 times.
Entirely unfazed by the comparatively ‘short’ format of the Baja – a new challenge for the Spaniard, Foj was quickly on the pace of his production class rivals, finishing day one less than a minute off the leading team. While he was unable to make headway on day two, Foj maintained his top-three position to secure a podium finish for the team and a stage three victory.
Speaking after the Baja, Foj declared himself satisfied with a podium finish, saying, "It is the first time in the ‘Italian Baja’ and I am very pleased with the result. Our car is best suited to experiences like the Dakar but, again, we have overcome another challenge and the effort has had the desired effect: the podium."