The demanding rally-raid will be run for over 10.000 km through Russia, Kazakhstan and China
The Silk Way Rally comes back after a two years break, with a challenging route that crosses three countries. From 8 to 24 July 88 cars will take part in the rally raid, which is valid for the Dakar Series and is the most demanding test before the Dakar Rally of January 2017.
Many important names are present in the entry list, first of all Stephane Peterhansel, winner of the last Dakar Rally. His Peugeot teammates Sebastien Loeb and Cyril Despres will take part in the race too, while Vladimir Vasilyev and Yazeed Mohamed Al Rahji will try to drive Minis All4Racing to victory. Many Toyota Hiluxes will also fight for final victory, with Chinese driver Zhou Yong and Frenchman Jerome Pelichet that seem to have good chances.
The race is set to cover a total of 10,780 km as it runs from Russia to China via Kazakhstan, touching the three capitals cities: Moscow, Astana and Beijing. The 15 special stages (apx 4,200 km) will feature everything rally-raiders demand: challenging ergs, canyons, steppes, dunes, navigation as well as scenery and opportunities for cultural exchanges with different peoples no other sporting enterprise can offer.
The Silk Way Rally will start on Friday 8 July in Moscow’s Red Square with the opening ceremony, while the following day the first stage will bring drivers to Kazan. A large and exuberant crowd will then fill the Kazan city centre for a prologue to determine the start order for the second stage (Kazan-Ufa). Then the rally will exit ‘Mother Russia’ and enter Kazakhstan on 11 July. The ‘land of wanderers’ will host three stages, with a stop in the futuristic metropole and capital Astana and a much-deserved rest day in the former first city, Almaty.
On 16 July the raiders will see the vast plateaus, steep canyons and rolling tracks disappear from their rear-view mirrors with the ‘Red Dragon’ straight ahead. Bortala will host the first bivouac in China. Then, the massive Gobi takes centre stage. With Mongolia to the north and the Qilian Shan to the south, the rally heads east for a week-long battle, reaching the capital of Inner Mongolia, Hohhot, before the final stage and finish line in Beijing on 24 July.
Luc Alphand Silk Way Rally Ambassador and Sporting Director is of course very excited for the race: “This route is balanced for all the categories, just until the very last kilometres, a lot of things could happen! The co-drivers will play an essential role, the drivers will have to maintain the pace, it promises to be an exciting race.”
Source: Silk Way Rally