The BMW’s X-Raid team will be the first international entry for the African Heritage Cross Country event in the Eastern Cape from July 26 to 30. The event is actually the round two of the FIA Cross Country World Cup and round five of the Absa Off Road Championship. More than 70 international and South African entries are to race on some of the awesome terrains in the Amatola Mountains.
The X-Raid BMW team will be driving a BMW X3 CC with components as quality as that of BMW 323i parts and powered by a three liter diesel motor to be driven by the Brazilian lawyer and businessman Paulo Nobre. The Portuguese driver Filipe Palmeiro will join Nobre in South Africa with the pair finishing 37th in this year’s overall Dakar Rally.
The 39-year-old Nobre has been competing in South American and other international events since 2001. He won the Mitsubishi Cup in 2003 and won the N2 category in the South American Rally Championship in 2005. He was also a regular competitor in the FIA Cross Country World Cup. Last year he won the diesel category on the Pharaons Rally in Egypt and brought a treasure trove of experience to South Africa.
Meanwhile, Palmeiro has been racing since 2000 and included in the line of top Portuguese drivers like Francisco Especrto, Paulo marques, Pedro Gameiro, and Heldfer Oliviera. He is also a former Portuguese T2 champion and a winner of the Challenge Nissan Spain.
The opening match of the World Cup was run in Portugal earlier this year. The South African round will be followed by events in Argentina, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates. The three best results will count towards the championship.
Documentation and analysis for the African Heritage Cross Country/Amathole 500 will take place at the Garden Court in East London on July 26 and also on the morning of July 27. The introduction for the Amathole 500 and Stage 1 of the African Heritage Cross Country will begin at 12h00 in Bisho and will end at the Fish River Sun.
The Amathole 500 which is the fifth round of the Absa Off Road Championship and Stage 2 of the African Heritage Cross Country will transpire over a 500 kilometer circular route in the Amatola Mountains on Saturday, July 28. Both races will begin and end at the Fish River Sun. The Stage 3 of the World Cup race will start and end at the Fish River Sun on Sunday, July 29 with the Stage 2 route to run in reverse. The Stage 4 of the African Heritage Cross Country will begin at the Fish River Sun and will end in Bisho.
The South African participants will be eligible to compete on in invitation basis in the African Heritage Cross Country race but will run at the back of the field. There are no championship points at stake for the SA entries but there would be trophies to be won.