2019 BF Goodrich King of Spain Les Comes

Epic Spanish debut of Ultra4 Europe's 2019 championship. The BF Goodrich King of Spain Les Comes was one of the toughest and most intense races ever. Jim Marsden is the winner of the KOS.

Photography and story by Paolo Baraldi

ultra4 europe king of spain les comes jim marsden

The Ultra4 Europe 2019 season began with the new Spanish location that led the best European teams to compete in Catalonia. Les Comes, located in the municipality of Suria, just 80 km from Barcelona, is famous among all off-road enthusiasts for the Les Comes 4x4 Festival which gathers in the central weekend of March more than 15,000 enthusiasts and over 1300 participating vehicles. This land of over 530 hectares, with different types of obstacles, is also highly appreciated by 4x4 manufacturers who choose it for the presentation of their new vehicles.

 

The 2019 season of Ultra4 Europe promises to be very lively thanks to the return of the Portuguese Emanuel Costa (2016 champion) and the Italian Pier Acerni, with the veterans of this championship (Nicolas Montador, Jim Marsden, Rob Butler and Axel Burmann) who will declare fierce and determined, with last year's rookies (Cedric Porcher and Inaki Lanzagorta Egia) and with the new teams of this year that will try with all their might to show off. Besides all this, what makes Ultra4 Europe fascinating is also the diversity of the competing vehicles; alongside the powerful 4400 there are the Stock, the Modified, the Legend (not present at KOS) and the UTV. The budgets are certainly not the same, giving everyone the chance to race in Ultra4 Europe races. Just choose the class that suits you best.

ultra4 europe king of spain les comes neville ciantar
Neville Ciantar

BF Goodrich King of Spain Les Comes: what a beautiful surprise!

From 23 to 25 May, Les Comes hosted the first race of the Ultra4 Europe 2019 championship. This location, since it was announced to the public, has created a lot of waiting and curiosity for everyone. Expectations, also due to the fame of Les Comes, were all fulfilled when the teams arrived and were pleasantly welcomed by a beautiful and verdant hilly region, an ancient village restored with high knowledge, an arena for the short course clearly visible to the public and a camping area with services worthy of a 5-star camping.

 

Behind the scenes, Chris Bowler, European Race Director, worked intensively with JT Taylor and all the U4E staff, assisted by that of Les Comes crew, to create a 22 km race course that could satisfy both drivers and Ultra4 high standart.

 

After the shock tuning sessions on Thursday and the pre-running sessions on Friday morning, everything and everyone was ready to get into the heart of the BF Goodrich King of Spain Les Comes with the prologue.

ultra4 europe king of spain les comes chris bowler
Chris Bowler
ultra4 europe king of spain les comes jt taylor
JT Taylor

Sun and dust for a spectacular prologue at King of Spain Les Comes

At 3.00 pm on Thursday, May 23, the first car started to race the 1.6 km prologue. The short course, clearly visible to the spectators, included some jumps, a rocky area, some nice curves to handle carefully and fast straight sections.

 

In the game "I am the fastest", it was the Englishman Jim Marsden who signed the pole position ahead of countrymate Rob Butler and the Spanish Inaki Lanzagorta Egia in third position.

ultra4 europe king of spain les comes jim marsden
Jim Marsden

Here are all the results of the prologue:

 

- Ranking 4400 Unlimited 

1.        Jim Marsden / Steve Grant

2.        Rob Butler

3.        Iñaki Eguia / Javier Otaegi

4.        Axel Bürmann / Tom Olieslager

5.        Cedric Porcher / Noel Herve

6.        Emanuel Costa / Gerardo Sampaio

7.        Pier Acerni / Nicola Bondi

8.        Nicolas Montador / Kerry Hufton

9.        Jaap Betsema / Tom Requet

10.     Luis Filipe Guimaraes / Ricardo Ferriera

11.     Mark Dean / Viv Veasey

12.     Bernd Schäfer / Alexander Schonbrunn

13.     Neville Ciantar / Lee Ciantar

14.     Roger Troguet / Joel Fernandez

15.     Joan Escala / Miquel Calsina

16.     Isaac Candela / Ruben Gonzales

17.     Marco Polónio / Doul Almesda

18.     Jose Vaquero / Jorge Alonso

19.     Shabs Piercy / Si Sagar

20.     Will Overton / Gavin Ford

21.     Mathieu Talazac / Andre Saudie

22.     Damien Mendiondou / Remy Allors

23.     Marco Ameirser / Michael Ameirser

24.     Jose Quintanero / Ruben Marin

 

- Ranking 4500 Modified 

1. Moralez / Manuel

2. Dean Mason / Criag Hodgson

3. Javier Sanchez / Alfonso Moueno

4. Jordi Abad / Jordi Badia 

 

- Ranking 4600 Stock 

1. Felip Esteban / Isahac Ponsa

2. Pili Perez / Luis Sedano

 

- Ranking 4900 UTV 

1. Philon Parpottas / Joe Fisher

2. Raf Wyrzykowski / Marcin Mirowski

3. Stijn Vekeman

4. Alain Plancoulaine / Jeremy Gauche

First day of competition at King of Spain Les Comes: the nightmare!

If the prologue took place under a blue sky and a summer sun, the first day of competition of the BF Goodrich King of Spain Les Comes was more similar to an apocalyptic scenario. The region is known for being dry and always sunny but on Friday an intense rain fell on the area that was rarely seen in this region.

 

The large amount of water that has fallen since early morning has turned the land into a nightmare for pilots. The clay layer immediately turned into a thick, slippery and sticky patina. In the course of the day the situation did not improve, indeed, the incessant rain caused the mud to increase even more. Driving in these conditions is very difficult and has tested the skills of the drivers.

 

Due to this difficult situation, which even beat the hard King of Wales and King of the Glens, the number of laps to complete was reduced by 10 laps from 22 km to 6 laps for a total of 132 km!

 

The pilots not only have had to adapt their driving to these particular conditions but they have had to deal with the mud that filled the car creeping in the helmet and covering their whole face and eyes. Driving in these conditions and moreover wet was not easy and our applause goes to all the daredevils who have not given up and have finished the race.

 

After the success of the prologue, Jim Marsden literally dominated the first day of the race concluding the six laps in 5 hours and 22 minutes. Rob Butler finished second with 21 minutes behind Marsden and Frenchman Cedric Porcher third. These three pilots were the only ones (besides Philon Parpottas in the UTV) to have completed the 6 laps planned. Too bad for Iñaki Lanzagorta Egia who had to retire due to an engine problem while he was fighting head-to-head with Marsden.

ultra4 europe king of spain les comes nicolas montador
Nicolas Montador

- Ranking 4400 Unlimited 

1.     Jim Marsden / Steve Grant

2.     Rob Butler

3.     Cedric Porcher / Noel Herve

4.     Axel Bürmann / Tom Olieslager

5.     Jose Vaquero / Jorge Alonso

6.     Luis Filipe Guimaraes / Ricardo Ferriera

7.     Iñaki Eguia / Javier Otaegi

8.     Emanuel Costa / Gerardo Sampaio

9.     Neville Ciantar / Lee Ciantar

10.  Roger Troguet / Joel Fernandez

11.  Marco Polónio / Doul Almesda

12.  Shabs Piercy / Si Sagar

13.  Mathieu Talazac / Andre Saudie

14.  Damien Mendiondou / Remy Allors

15.  Bernd Schäfer / Alexander Schonbrunn

16.  Joan Escala / Miquel Calsina

17.  Jaap Betsema / Tom Requet

18.  Mark Dean / Viv Veasey

19.  Marco Ameirser / Michael Ameirser

20.  Pier Acerni / Nicola Bondi

21.  Nicolas Montador / Kerry Hufton

22.  Isaac Candela / Ruben Gonzales

23. Will Overton / Gavin Ford

ultra4 europe king of spain les comes Sanchez / Moueno
Sanchez / Moueno
ultra4 europe king of spain les comes Esteban / Ponsa
Esteban / Ponsa
ultra4 europe king of spain les comes Parpottas / Fisher
Parpottas / Fisher

Among the Modifieds Javier Sanchez ranks first, Felip Esteban wins in the Stock and Philon Parpottas is first among the UTVs.

 

- Ranking 4500 Modified 

1. Javier Sanchez / Alfonso Moueno

2. Moralez / Manuel

3. Jordi Abad / Jordi Badia

4. Dean Mason / Criag Hodgson

 

- Ranking 4600 Stock 

1. Felip Esteban / Isahac Ponsa

2. Pili Perez / Luis Sedano

 

- Ranking 4900 UTV 

1. Philon Parpottas / Joe Fisher

2. Raf Wyrzykowski / Marcin Mirowski

3. Stijn Vekeman

4. Alain Plancoulaine / Jeremy Gauche

Second day of competition at King of Spain Les Comes: the day after!

The second and last day of the competition took place on Saturday 25 May. Although there was no rain, the mud of the previous day did not dry out so all the drivers found themselves having to face the same problems as the previous day. In addition, the continuous passage of vehicles on the muddy track has uncovered numerous rocks that have been the cause of endless punctures. Jim Marsden punctured 9 tires in two days!

 

The race started following the script of the previous day with Jim Marsden on the run and all the others chasing him. At one point, with Marsden slowed down by punctures, the games reopened with Cedric Porcher, Rob Butler and Neville Cianter starting to undermine the leadership. With this situation we reached the end of the race leaving the final result uncertain. In this agitated phase, Axel Burmann had to retire due to mechanical problems; sin because it would have been with the others to contend for the victory.

 

Also in race two the 10 laps of 22 km were reduced to 6 due to the unaltered bad conditions of the course. The Frenchman Cedric Porcher with an excellent performance passes first the finish line of the second day. Second comes Jim Marsden followed by the Maltese Cianter.

ultra4 europe king of spain les comes Cedric Porcher
Cedric Porcher

- Ranking 4400 Unlimited 

1. Cedric Porcher / Noel Herve

2. Jim Marsden / Mark Dean

3. Neville Ciantar / Lee Ciantar

4. Marco Polónio / Doul Almesda

5. Rob Butler

6. Mathieu Talazac / Andre Saudie

7. Roger Troguet / Joel Fernandez

8. Marco Ameirser / Michael Ameirser

9. Damien Mendiondou / Remy Allors

10. Shabs Piercy / Si Sagar

11. Jose Vaquero / Jorge Alonso

12. Axel Bürmann / Tom Olieslager

13. Jaap Betsema / Tom Requet

14. Will Overton / Gavin Ford

ultra4 europe king of spain les comes rob butler
Rob Butler

Among the Modified Moralez ranks first, Felip Esteban wins in the Stock and Philon Parpottas is first among the UTVs.

 

- Ranking 4500 Modified 

1. Moralez / Manuel

2. Jordi Abad / Jordi Badia

3. Javier Sanchez / Alfonso Moueno

 

- Ranking 4600 Stock 

1. Felip Esteban / Isahac Ponsa

 

- Ranking 4900 UTV 

1. Philon Parpottas / Joe Fisher

2. Stijn Vekeman

The podium of BF Goodrich King of Spain Les Comes. Jim Marsden is the "King"!

As a demonstration of  how tough and difficult the BF Goodrich King of Spain Les Come was, here is a summary of how many problems or retired during the two days of competition:

 

- Dean Mason - clutch problems

- Isaac Candela

- Nicolas Montador / Kerry Hufton - medical problem

- Jaap Betsema / Tom Requet - steering break

- Will Overton / Gavin Ford - rollover

- Mark Dean / Vivienne Veasey - multiple punctures

- Iñaki Lanzagorta Egia / Javier Otaegi - engine problems

- Emanuel Costa / Gerardo Sampaio

- Damien Mendiondou / Remy Allors

- Marco Ameriser / Jorge Alonso

- Alain Plancoulaine / Jeremy left

- Stijn Vekeman

- Pier Acerni / Nicola Bondi - electrical problems

- Raf Wyrzykowski / Marcin Mirowski - rear transmission failure

- Luis Filipe Fracing Guimaraes / Alfonso Moueno

- Joan Escala / Miquel Calsina

- Bernd Schäfer / Alexander Schoenbrunn

- Axel Burmann / Tom Olieslager - mechanical problems

ultra4 europe king of spain les comes axel burmann
Axel Burmann

The survivors, as mentioned, have made an exciting race but as in every race there is a winner and this first BF Goodrich King of Spain Les Comes was won by Jim Marsden. Cedric Porcher ranks second and Rob Butler third.

ultra4 europe king of spain les comes jim marsden
Jim Marsden
ultra4 europe king of spain les comes cedric porcher
Cedric Porcher
ultra4 europe king of spain les comes rob butler
Rob Butler

- 4400 overall ranking 

1.  Jim Marsden / Steve Grant / Mark Dean - 13 laps in 10:23:18.698

2.  Cedric Porcher / Noel Herve - 13 laps in 10:48:27.280

3. Rob Butler – 13 laps in 11:04:28.556

 

4. Marco Polónio / Doul Almesda – 11 laps

5. Neville Ciantar / Lee Ciantar – 11 laps

6. Mathieu Talazac / Andre Saudie – 11 laps

7. Damien Mendiondou / Remy Allors – 9 laps

8. Roger Troguet / Joel Fernandez – 9 laps

9. Jose Vaquero / Jorge Alonso – 9 laps

10. Shabs Piercy / Si Sagar – 9 laps

11. Axel Bürmann / Tom Olieslager – 8 laps

12. Marco Ameirser / Michael Ameirser – 7 laps

13. Luis Filipe Guimaraes / Ricardo Ferriera – 6 laps

14. Iñaki Eguia / Javier Otaegi – 5 laps

15. Emanuel Costa / Gerardo Sampaio – 5 laps

16. Jaap Betsema / Tom Requet – 4 laps

17. Joan Escala / Miquel Calsina – 4 laps

18. Bernd Schäfer / Alexander Schonbrunn – 4 laps

19. Mark Dean / Viv Veasey – 3 laps

20. Pier Acerni / Nicola Bondi – 2 laps

21. Will Overton / Gavin Ford – 2 laps

22. Isaac Candela / Ruben Gonzales – 2 laps

23. Nicolas Montador / Kerry Hufton- 2 laps

In the Modified class Moralez wins while among the Stocks is Felip Esteban. Philon Parpottas dominates and wins in the UTVs.

ultra4 europe king of spain les comes Moralez / Manuel
Moralez / Manuel
ultra4 europe king of spain les comes Felip Esteban / Isahac Ponsa
Felip Esteban / Isahac Ponsa
ultra4 europe king of spain les comes Philon Parpottas / Joe Fisher
Philon Parpottas / Joe Fisher

- 4500 overall ranking 

1. Moralez / Manuel – 11 laps in 11:47:36.646

2. Jordi Abad / Jordi Badia

3. Javier Sanchez / Alfonso Moueno

4. Dean Mason / Criag Hodgson

 

- 4600 overall ranking 

1. Felip Esteban / Isahac Ponsa – 8 laps in 9:52:40.238

2. Pili Perez / Luis Sedano

 

- UTV overall ranking 

1. Philon Parpottas / Joe Fisher – 13 laps in 11:33:50.173

2. Stijn Vekeman

3. Raf Wyrzykowski / Marcin Mirowski

4. Alain Plancoulaine / Jeremy Gauche

ultra4 europe king of spain les comes



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ULTRA4 EUROPE:  www.ultra4europe.com