SWR 2017: scrutineering and pressconference in Moscow
The tension continues to mount at the Loujniki Olympic stadium. On the eve of the start ceremony, scheduled for this Friday in the Red Square, the second day of scrutineering saw the international teams undergo the various checks, notably the French Peugeot Total dream team and the Dutch Petronas De Rooy Iveco outfit.
The stars come out in Moscow
Among the favourites in the truck race, the Dutch driver Gerard De Rooy is debuting his brand new Iveco on the 2017 Silk Way Rally. “Apart from the engine and the cabin, everything on my Iveco is new and we are very much looking forward to going up against the best truck teams so as to be able to judge how competitive we are over this particularly varied course. One thing is sure: we will start off gently as I really don’t want to miss out on the big dunes of the Gobi Desert…”
Firm favourites in the car category, Peugeot Total have entered three Peugeot 3008DKR for Cyril Despres (winner in 2016), Stéphane Peterhansel and Sébastien Loeb, with the nine times World Rally Champion driving the latest 3008DKR Maxi version. “I think the car is more stable now that it is wider. It feels a little different to drive. This Silk Way Rally offers us the full range of terrain to try out the car in racing conditions,” explained Loeb, still chasing after his first big win in rally-raid. “Its strong point is its ability off-piste. We should therefore be able to attack the dunes of the Gobi Desert in total confidence…”
In front of more than a hundred Russian and foreign journalists present at the traditional Silk Way Rally press conference, and in the presence of the leading drivers entered on this 7th edition, Race Director Vladimir CHAGIN commented: “Today all the top cross country rally drivers are here in Moscow and this is a mark of trust – trust in the Silk Way Rally organisers, in our partners and above all trust in a main partner Gazprom, as well as in Russia, Kazakhstan and China. I’m proud of what we have all managed to achieve and I’m looking forward to this two-week marathon. I’m sure all the athletes will put on an outstanding show!”
Discussing the sporting aspect of the race, Deputy Director of the Silk Way Rally, Frédéric LEQUIEN, added: “From a sporting perspective, the race has never been so appealing. Both in the cars and the trucks the battle for victory looks like it will be very fiercely fought over, on a route where we have added even more sand and reduced the liaison sections to a minimum. In addition, media interest in the Silk Way has quite simply exploded in the space of a year. With 55 TV broadcasters, we now enjoy excellent international coverage.”
This Friday, after the general briefing scheduled for mid-afternoon in the Loujniki ice skating arena, the official start ceremony will get underway in the Red Square, where the first race vehicles will mount the podium towards 18.00 Moscow time (GMT +3).