Welcome to Astrakhan - Silk Way 2018

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« Welcome to Astrakhan, rally-raid capital… » that’s how Race Director Vladimir Chagin greeted the competitors entered on the 2018 SILK WAY RALLY. And it is from here, in the heart of the Volga Delta, on the shores of the Caspian Sea that the race is about to write the 8th chapter in its history. Between Astrakhan and Moscow; 7 stages of nearly 3500 kilometres, of which two thirds will be raced against the clock. On the programme from now until the start on Saturday, two days of technical and administrative scrutineering at the grandiose site of Astrakhan’s State Opera and Theatre.

Scrutineering, operating instructions

Coming from the four corners of the world, the first competitors and their assistance crews have been checking in since the beginning of the afternoon to the administrative scrutineering counter (licences, vehicle registrations, driving licences etc.), while the race cars and trucks undergo a series of tests and checks on their safety equipment in accordance with the regulations imposed by the FIA. From competitors and assistance medical forms, through to the technical tests of the vehicles, via the various administrative requirements, the ritual seems immutable before tackling one of the most demanding races in the world…

Safety first!

On the SILK WAY RALLY, as on all the other major international rallies, the number one priority is safety. Which is why each race vehicle is equipped with an Iritrack system. This satellite geo-localisation device allows each vehicle to be followed in real time and automatically informs the Race Direction of any incident. Same thing for the assistance, organisers and press vehicles, following the race by road, who are equipped with the Tripy system, a ‘black box’ that is both a GPS and a digital road book.

Shakedown to… the break of day

So as to allow the competitors a last run and make any final set up changes, the organisers of the SILK WAY RALLY have laid on a ‘shakedown’ track just thirty or so kilometres from Astrakhan. Running in a straight line for about 7 kms, over sandy terrain alongside the Volga, the front runners in the car and truck categories took full advantage of this warm up, featuring some spectacular terrain. First to go were the trucks of Team Kamaz-Master, the Toyota Hilux Overdrive of Nasser Al-Attiyah and the Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi of Harry Hunt, followed this afternoon by the John Cooper Works Minis of Nani Roma and Yazeed Al Rahji… At the finish, in the village of Rassvet (day break in Russian) no major problems to report.

Start podium this Friday a 20.00 (GMT +4)

As the first day of scrutineering draws to an end at the Astrakhan State Opera and Theatre, with two thirds of the competitors given the OK to start, the parc ferme is steadily filling up. All have now had the chance to see the impressive start podium, situated between two majestic fountains. It is here, in this incredible backdrop that the competitors will come together on Friday at 20.00 (18.00 CET) for the start podium and ceremony for the much awaited 8th edition of the SILK WAY RALLY.

SWR 18: an exceptional line-up

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2018 Silk Way Rally will welcome the best pilots of the discipline, and, for the first time, no contender for the title in the car category has ever written his name on the rally's winners list.

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2018 Silk Way Rally route presented in Moscow

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Some of the best racers and teams are going to join the battle of Silk Way Rally on their cars and trucks. Six thousand kilometers between Xi’an and Moscow, ten legs in China and Russia, two weeks of tense struggle and exciting experience.

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2018 SILK WAY RALLY : Nasser Al Attiyah wins free entry !

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Baja Russia Northern Forest, the first round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and only race on ice of the season, was won last weekend by Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel, three-times World Cup winners and title holders. They were followed by last year's winner the Polish Aron Domzala, the Czech Martin Prokop, used to ice-driving and the Russian Vladimir Vasilyev, winner of the 2017 Africa Eco Race and frequent pilot of the event

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2018 Silk Way Rally will start from Xi'an

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Almost five months after the finish ceremony of the 2017 Silk Way Rally, with Cyril Despres (PEUGEOT TOTAL TEAM) on top of car category and Dmitry Sotnikov (KAMAZ-MASTER TEAM) leading in trucks, all eyes are turned to the next edition of the race, which will take off from China for the first time.

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Lavieille and Mardeev surf, the leaders suffer

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Christian Lavieille (Baïcmotor n°108) in the cars and Airat Mardeev (Kamaz-Master n°300) in the truck category win the 12th stage of the Silk Way Rally, run in the heart of the big dunes of the Gobi desert. Despite mechanical problems and time lost in this very demanding special, Cyril Despres (Peugeot 3008DKR n°100) and Dmitry Sotnikov (Kamaz-Master n°303) hold onto their leadership positions in the overall rankings.

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De Rooy without troubles through stage 11, Van Genugten with ‘emergency navigator’

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Yesterday, Gerard de Rooy expressed the wish to finish a stage without any problems, today that wish was answered. In the eleventh stage, from Dunhuang to Jiayuguan with a special of 237 km, De Rooy finished seventh, only 5 minutes and 45 seconds from stage winner Martin Kolomy. Ton van Genugten came in tenth, with Bart de Gooyert as a stand-in navigator.

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Loeb crashes, Despres and Sotnikov lead

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Stéphane Peterhansel (Peugeot 3008DKR n°106) won the 9th stage of the Silk Way Rally, but the notable event of the day was his team mate and overall lead Sébastien Loeb’s accident at km 84. This evening in Hami it is Cyril Despres (Peugeot 3008 DKR n°100) who leads the rankings. In the trucks Airat Mardeev (Kamaz-Master n°300) was fastest on the day ahead of his team mate Sotnikov, who maintain the overall lead.

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2017 SWR: Half-time break

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The first week of the 2017 Silk Way Rally is over and Team X-raid spends the rest day in Urumqi with mixed emotions. With the first eight stages contested, Bryce Menzies und Pete Mortensen (both USA) hold third position while Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and Tom Colsoul (BEL) will start from 14th position into the second week that will take the rally train to Xi’an. It also was an extremely tough week for the X-raid team service crew.

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Gerard de Rooy satisfied with week of testing in Silk Way Rally

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The main purpose of Gerard de Rooy at the Silk Way Rally was testing his new truck. “In a race the teething problems will come out. On top of that I have a reference, because everybody is here. I now know what the truck is capable of and what it needs”, De Rooy tells at the rest day in Urumqi, where the mechanics are working hard to get the Iveco Powerstar ready for the remaining six stages of the Silk Way Rally.

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Loeb and Sotnikov dominant

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On the eve of the rest day, the 8th stage to Urümqi, the capital of the autonomous region of Xinjiang, saw wins by Sébastien Loeb (Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi n°104) in the car class and from Dmitry Sotnikov (Kamaz-Master) in the trucks. With 6 stages left to run, before the finish in Xi’An, the two leaders of the 2017 Silk Way Rally continue to strengthen their positions.

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Peterhansel and Nikolaev, victories good for the moral

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The penultimate special in Kazakhstan saw victory go to Stéphane Peterhansel (Peugeot 3008DKR n°106) in the car class. In the trucks it was Eduard Nikolaev (Kamaz-Master n°307) who took his first victory, just before the rally heads into China. As for the last few days, since the rally has been in the vast Kazakh steppes, it was the crews who started further back who had the least problems with the navigation.

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Menzies makes it to the top three

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On the past two days, a lot of things happened in the Silk Way Rally and with the sixth stage contested, MINI John Cooper Works Rally pairing Bryce Menzies / Pete Mortensen (both USA) hold third position in the overall standings behind two Peugeots.

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Despres wins without playing his joker, Kamaz score a stage podium

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Cyril Despres (Peugeot 3008DKR n°100) took his first stage victory of this 2017 edition of the Silk Way Rally, while in the truck category the Kamaz decided to get on the gas – resulting in a stage win for Dmitry Sotnikov (Kamaz-Master n°303), ahead of his team mates Shibalov and Nikolaev. Cars and trucks combined this 5th stage to Semey, to the far east of Kazakhstan, saw the Blue Armada put three of their trucks in the top 5…

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Silk Way Rally

Welcome to Astrakhan - Silk Way 2018

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