The long journey across two continents has started
• Vasilyev secures the second place in the prologue
• Al-Rajhi, Hunt and Rakhimbayev in the top 10
The 2016 Silk Way Rally has kicked off and the first 850 kilometres of the total distance of more than 10,000 kilometres have been covered. But it has to be admitted that the MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles covered the way from Moscow to Kazan, capital of the autonomous Russian republic Tatarstan on a trailer. Only in Kazan they had to go for it in the two-kilometre prologue.
The Russians Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov took their MINI All4 Racing to second position behind Stéphane Peterhansel in the Peugeot. Meanwhile, Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) finished fifth. “The terrain of the prologue was surprisingly soft,” said Al-Rajhi. “We tried to drive the cleanest line possible and secure a top-five position. We succeeded in doing so and our starting position for tomorrow is promising.”
Harry Hunt (GBR) / Andreas Schulz (GER) and Aidyn Rakhimbayev (KZA) / Anton Nikolaev (RUS), finished seventh and eighth in the Silk Way Rally prologue. “I’m happy that the rally finally has started,” revealed Hunt, “But in this stage, losing ground was easier than gaining it. Therefore, we opted for a conservative approach. But at the same time, the prologue was big fun and even more so as it was attended by many spectators.” Bauyrzhan Issabayev (KAZ) / Vladimir Demyanenko (RUS) secured the fine 12th place, in their debut appearance with a MINI ALL4 Racing.
The result of the prologue will be reflected by the starting order for tomorrow’s first stage. The 136-kilometre special stage will be contested on very fast terrain, with overtaking possibilities being rare. In addition, the special stage with its difficult navigation will represent a major challenge for the co-drivers. Altogether, the pairings will have to cover 626.66 kilometres, from Kazan to Ufa.
Facts and figures around the 2016 Silk Way Rally
5 MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles
2 Service trucks
1 Trailer truck
1 Kitchen trailer
6 X-raid service vehicles
29 X-raid team members
3 Countries (Russia, Kazakhstan, China)
10,774.70 Total mileage
4,104.96 Special-stage kilometres
8,720.11 Service kilometres
1 Rest day
125 Racing cars contesting the event
68 Vehicles of the rally organisers
192 Service vehicles
2 Clock changes +3h on 12th July 2016 in Kostanay +2h on 17th July 2016 in Bortala