Silk Way Rally 2017: The battle will be intense
The confrontation promises to be a battle without mercy. Never, since the creation of the Silk Way Rally, in 2009, has there been so many candidates for the final victory, jostling for position on the start line!
Last year’s winner Peugeot Total Sport will enter three new 3008 DKR for their French drivers Stéphane Peterhansel, Sébastien Loeb and title holder Cyril Despres.
The ‘Lions’ will be confronted by a Toyota armada led by the Qatari champion Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Hilux Overdrive) and the South Africans, Giniel De Villiers and Leroy Poulter (Toyota GAZOO Racing).
For their part, the X-RAID team will also be more than present with two new Mini John Cooper Works Rally, driven by the Saudi Yazeed Al-Rajhi, second last year and the young American hopeful, the spectacular Bryce Menzies, while the Russian Vladimir Vasilyev in his Mini ALL4racing (G-Energy team), will attempt to honour his 2016 podium.
Among the serious outsiders figures the Russian Boris Gadasin in his Range Rover entered by the Suprotec Racing team, the Chinese champion Han Wei aboard his buggy (Geely Boyue Hanwei SMG Team) and the Baixmotor Racing Team prototypes, in the expert hands of Pascal Thomasse and Christian Lavieille, among others.
In the T2 category, for production 4x4 vehicles, in absence of the Kazakh Denis Berezovskiy (Toyota), winner in 2016, but out this year following his accident on the Dakar, the race is likely to be fought out between Akira Miura of the Japanese Toyota Autobody team, leader right up to the gates of Pekin in 2016, and the Australian Adrian DI Lallo at the wheel of his Isuzu.
All the best pilots of the truck category will meet in Moscow. And while with five trucks entered, the blue armada that is the Kamaz Master team are the favourites, Airat Mardeev (2016 winner), Eduard Nikolaev (2017 Dakar winner), Andrey Karginov (2017 Africa Eco Race winner), Anton Shibalov and Dmitry Sotnikov won’t have it all their own way.
Back on the Silk Way Rally after a first participation in 2009, the Dutchman Gerard De Rooy (2012 and 2016 Dakar winner) will be a serious challenger behind the wheel of his new IVECO entered by the Petronas De Rooy Iveco team. Two other trucks, driven by the Kazakh Artur Ardavichus and Ton van Genugten complete the trio.
One of the main protagonists of last year’s race in his Renault Sherpa, another ‘flying Dutchman’ Martin van den Brink , will be able to count on the support of the two other Renaults driven by Pascal de Baar and Gert Huzink.
Also entering three trucks are the Belarusian Maz Autosport team with Siarhei Viazovich, Aliaksei Vishneuski and Aleksandr Vasilevski.
While the three Tatras entered will be run by three different teams, all from the Czech Republic, with Ales Loprais (Instaforex Tatra Team), Tomas Vratny (Bonver Dakar Project) and Martin Kolomy (Tatra Buggyra Racing), all intending to make their mark.
As will the new SCANIA driven by the Hungarian Miklos Kovacs (Team Qualisport).
Finally, from the land of the rising sun, Teruhito Sugawara will be on the starting line for the second consecutive year aboard his factory Hino.