Yazeed Al Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk (MINI John Cooper Works n°103), in the car class, and Andrey Karginov, Andrey Mokeev and Igor Leonov (Kamaz-Master n°309), in the trucks have today won the 2018 SILK WAY RALLY at the end of the 7th and last stage between Lipetsk and the capital of the Russian Federation.
Nani Roma (MINI John Cooper Works n°104) has won the 5th stage and in doing so has taken his first ever victory on the SILK WAY RALLY. The Spanish driver led home his team mate Yazeed Al Rajhi (MINI John Cooper Works n°103) who shores up his overall lead over his rivals who struggled on the tracks leading up the banks of the Volga. In the truck class one Kamaz can hide another. Following a 6 penality given to the day’s winner Andrei Karginov (Kamaz-Master n°309) for speeding in a control zone, Anton Shibalov wins his first stage of this 2018 edition. As a result, despite the 26 minutes lost on the track due to mechanical problems, Dmitry Sotnikov (Kamaz-Master n°300), just manages to hold on to his overall lead.
The Frenchman Mathieu Serradori (Buggy SRT n°108) has won the 4th stage of the 2018 SILK WAY RALLY barely 1 second ahead Yazeed Al Rajhi (MINI John Cooper Works n°103). Victims of mechanical problems, Harry Hunt (Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi n°107) and Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Hilux n°101) have both given away considerable time in the overall car classifications, with Al Rajhi now the new leader. In the trucks, Andrei Karginov (Kamaz-Master n°309), beat the Dutchman Van Den Brink (Renault Sherpa n°304) by less than one minute. Running into mechanical difficulties, Dmitry Sotnikov (Kamaz-Master n°300) nevertheless holds on to the overall lead. Tomorrow the SILK WAY RALLY starts its long route along the Volga, direction Moscow, for the last three stages of this 2018 edition.
While up until yesterday the rally had enjoyed ‘summer holiday’ weather in a region where rain is rare, violent storms hit today’s stage. With race and safety conditions deteriorating by the minute, the organisers decided to stop the race at CP1 (km 140). It is in these exceptional conditions that Harry Hunt Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi No 107 won the third stage of the 2018 SILK WAY RALLY. The British driver takes over the lead in the car class following the problems encountered by Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Hilux n°101), forced to leave Elista with just two-wheel drive and who lost almost an hour getting stuck in the mud. In the trucks the special stage being stopped at kilometre 140 (CP1) allowed Dmitry Sotnikov (Kamaz-Master) to strengthen his position as overall leader.
Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Hilux n°101) in the car class, and Andrey Karginov (Kamaz-Master n°309), in the trucks, win the 2nd stage of the 2018 SILK WAY RALLY. At the end of this marathon stage, without assistance at the bivouac in Elista, capital of the Republic of Kalmoukie… and of chess, the day’s two winners move their pieces forward. But on the eve of the return trip to Astrakhan, the match would appear particularly delicate and uncertain!
Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Hilux) in the cars and Dmitry Sotnikov (Kamaz-Master) in the trucks have won the first stage of the 2018 SILK WAY RALLY, run as a loop around Astrakhan. This first special stage could in no way be considered a gentle warm up and provoked a number of upsets. The first competitors to run out of luck were Nani Roma (MINI John Cooper Works No 104), Mathieu Serradori (Buggy SRT), Martin Van Den Brink (Renault Mammoet) and Akira Muira (Toyota Land Cruiser Autobody)…
« 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…
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.
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.
This 2018 edition of the Silk Way Rally was to take place in the People's Republic of China with five stages on the programme, then the participants and the entire organisation had to fly to Russia via an airlift to complete five other stages between Astrakhan and Moscow.
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.
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
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.
Arriving in triumph and bright sunshine at the ancient capital of the Middle Empire, at the end of over 700 kilometres of liaison, the competitors on the 2017 Silk Way Rally were all smiles.
Being the last truck on the list to pass the podium after finishing a rally is a new experience for Gerard de Rooy. "But actually the whole Silk Way Rally was a strange experience”, he says. “Even though I have become the last, I am satisfied.”
The Silk Way Rally began and ended for the X-raid Team with a major dose of bad luck. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and Tom Colsoul (BEL) lost a lot of time on day two, thus dropping out of the contention for the top positions.
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.
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.
Italy’s Eugenio Amos was the surprise car class winner on stage 10 of the Silk Way Rally as Sébastien Loeb failed to take the start following an injury sustained after crashing on the previous stage.
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.
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.
As dawn breaks on the Xinjiang region’s capital, the huge Exhibition Centre, the rally HQ for two days, slowly come to life on the 2017 Silk Way Rally rest day.
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.
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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