ROKAS BACIUSKA(ltu) 1.71m / 69kg
GBY, Agrorodeo, Cbet, South Racing
“I’m thinking about the Dakar every second of the day”
Rokas Baciuska will have just turned 22 when he makes his Dakar debut next January, but despite his young age he’s no stranger to the ups and downs of high-level motorsport. After a successful run in karting, including being crowned Lithuanian national champion, in 2017 he switched to rallycross part time, before going on to win the European Rallycross Super 1600 Championship the following year. On the back of that title, in 2019 Baciuska graduated to RX Supercars -the top-tier of World Rallycross- with a season best 4th place at the French round, narrowly missing out on the podium due to a mechanical issue. 2020 should have been the year it all came together for the young Lithuanian but uncompetitive machinery forced a change of direction and the decision to focus on rally-raid, which in case you didn’t know is absolutely massive in Rokas’ country of birth. He started out with a Lithuanian co-driver on the 2021 Baja Aragon, just missing out on a podium after getting a penalty for changing his tyres in the wrong place. At the Polish Baja he tried out an experienced English speaking co-driver before finally settling on ex-bike racer Oriol Mena for the Rallye du Maroc where they finished P5.
R.B.: “The Dakar is huge in Lithuania. The population is just under 3 million but there are 10 cars from there entered in 2022. Basically everybody knows somebody who’s racing on the Dakar and for 2 weeks people talk about nothing else. Rallycross isn’t in the same league, so while I was struggling to find the right car and enough budget it made sense to look at rally-raid, but first I needed to see if I liked the sport that is so different to RX. In RX the races are short and you know every millimetre of the track. In rally raid there’s a lot of kilometres, lots of different terrain and if you don’t want to break the car you can only drive at 60%. The Andalucia Rally was a good introduction because it was something between a cross country rally and a traditional rally and I liked it straight away. I could also see the importance of having the right co-driver. You spend a lot of time together so you need to have a good relationship both inside and outside the car. For the Rallye du Maroc we tried out Oriol and clicked both on a personal and a professional level, plus he has a lot of experience and is a good mechanic. The P5 result wasn’t too bad either. Now I’m thinking about the Dakar every second of the day. How it will be on the days without any service, how we will cope with the long days… Obviously I’m a racer so like every racer I want P1 but realistically a top 10 finish would be a good result, while a finish is the minimum requirement. Step by step as they say.”
SOUTH RACING CAN-AM
BRP CAN-AM MAVERICK XRS
SOUTH RACING CAN-AM
- Mark : BRP
- Model : CAN-AM MAVERICK XRS
- Performance tuner : South Racing Can-Am
- Assistance : South Racing Can-Am
- Class : S_T4_NO
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Rokas Baciuška: "Pedal to the metal"
Racing in his first Dakar, the young Lithuanian claimed a special and is nearing the finish in fourth place overall, roughly seven minutes down on third-placed Michał Goczał.
"I put the pedal to the metal today and it worked. I also needed my co-driver to galvanise me and do a superb job… We did it. It's my first year, I'm top rookie, I'm ecstatic....
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