American off-road racer Austin Jones and Polish driver Aron Domżala have joined the Monster Energy Can-Am off-road racing team. The duo will tackle several forthcoming cross-country events in a pair of Can-Am Maverick X3 side-by-side vehicles customised by the Germany-based team to the technical specification of the FIA’s T4 category.
Both drivers will start their campaign with the Monster Energy Team at the new Andalucia Rally in southern Spain. The event takes place from October 6th-10th
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, both drivers have managed to take part in one race apiece this season with South Racing since the Dakar Rally, with Jones winning two of the five stages of the Qatar Cross-Country Rally back in February and Domżala winning his T4 section at the recent Baja Poland and finishing a superb fourth overall.
Austin, nicknamed ‘AJ’, grew up surrounded by the world of American off-road racing and it was a natural progression for him to follow his esteemed father, Jesse, into the discipline. He navigated for his father in the ‘Best of the Desert’ series in America and learned the art of car control, navigation and race strategy.
The younger Jones started out in Spec Trophy Truck races like the Baja 1000. He was SCORE Points’ champion in 2018 in the Spec Trophy Truck class, winning the Parker 425, finishing second in the San Felipe 250 and emerging triumphant in the Baja 500 and Baja 1000.
Jones will be partnered with the Brazilian Gustavo Gugelmin in the Monster Energy Can-Am Team for the Andalucia Rally. He has already tackled FIA off-road events in Morocco, Spain and Russia - in addition to a first event with Gugelmin in Qatar - and is relishing the opportunity to take part in the Andalucia Rally, the rescheduled Dubai Baja in mid-November and a potential off-road rally in Saudi Arabia as a warm-up to tackling the Dakar Rally again in the Kingdom at the start of 2021.
Domżala has extensive European and FIA event experience and has tackled many of the rounds of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.
Co-driver Maciej Marton joins Aron in the Monster Energy Can-Am Team and the duo will concentrate on rounds of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.
They tackled the Dakar together at the start of 2020 and, like Jones, the pair have fathers involved in the sport, with Maciej Domżala and Rafal Marton also taking part in cross-country events.
Domżala began his career in traditional rallying, before making the switch to off-road type racing. He won the T3 category in the 2016 FIA World Cup and finished third in the main T1 section the following year.
Monster Energy South Racing Can-Am team’s Scott Abraham said: “Austin has gone from strength to strength in his short career and is definitely one of the rising stars on the cross-country scene. Coming from a desert racing background in the US, he has clearly shown his pace on recent events and his consistency was also shown on the last Dakar. We are looking forward to him joining the Monster Energy Can-Am team. He adds another facet to an already strong line-up.
“It’s great to have the Polish team of Aron and Maciej on board. Aron has shown across various forms of motor sport that he is very quick and has the pace. They make a fantastic team. We started our collaboration together with the win in Baja Poland in horrendous weather conditions.
“We are looking forward to tackling the remaining rounds of the FIA Baja World Cup, which still has four events left, starting with the Baja Portalegre in Portugal in November, then the event in Dubai and back-to-back Bajas in Saudi Arabia in December. There is still a lot to play for and it is definitely going to be an exciting time.”
Abraham is delighted that the new event has been devised in Andalucia. “We will be fielding threemavericks,” he added. “Our Spanish crew of Gerard Farrés and Armand Monleôn will join Austin, Aron, Gustavo and Maciej. It will be a nice race to prepare for Dakar before moving on to the last events in the Middle East.”
The Andalucia Rally is a brand new addition to the international cross-country rallying calendar and is being organised in place of the Rally of Morocco that fell victim to the Covid-19 pandemic. The event is based in the region of the same name between Seville and Granada. The itinerary includes a timed super special on October 6th and four punishing selective sections from October 7th-10th.
Source: South Racing press release