2019 Silk Way Rally – Day 11 SS10 & Podium: The Silk Road to Victory – race-deZert.com

2019 Silk Way Rally – Day 11 SS10 & Podium: The Silk Road to Victory

10 Tough Cross-Country Stages Single-Out New Faces on the Podium

Silk Way Rally; Special Stage Ten: Features changed dramatically on the final stage of the 2019 SWR. Trading an ocean of dunes for rocky foothills, the obstacles included countless dry riverbeds, silt, stones, sandy washes, plateaus and canyons. A beautiful conclusion to a spectacular competition, with twists and turns from the very start – fate claiming its victims in each stage – it is a testament to the organizers, the roadbook crew and the perseverance of the teams which kept the attrition rate down to 17%. A staggering difference, in terms of rally raid, from Dakar’s 50% average. A triathlon of territories. Edging Russian Siberia’s infamous Lake Baikal, speeding through the Mongolian Steppes and careening down the sandy slopes of Northern China, this race went to Mars and back traversing some of earth’s uncharted regions. And those who are truly meant for exploration of the sort, today, wrote their names down in the history books.

With a twenty-something minute gap, Sam Sunderland #6 (Red Bull KTM) was taking it easy. No point in pushing the limits on the last day and inadvertently causing unnecessary issues, or worse, a DNF. The rest of the bikes, however, were still duking it out until the proverbial checkered flag waved. HERO Motorsports’, and Rally veteran, Paolo Goncalves #4 was hot on the tail of stage opener and SS9 winner, Andrew Short #29 who too kept a consistent pace, though Goncalves soon faltered a bit as the day went on finishing in a respectable 7th place. Whereas Short stayed true to his reputation, held a strong position at 3rd, which ultimately earned him the coveted second step in the Winner’s Circle. He is the first American to stand on the podium in Silk Way Rally history! Yamaha Rally Team rider #10 Adrien Van Beveren maintained a really solid time in SS10, bringing him to Second in the special, but due to some hiccups in a “tricky” section, it was not enough to nab Second overall, so he was resigned to the yet still prestigious Third seed in the General Classification.

“For me it was the best-case scenario. I think I was very fortunate that it was really fast and defined on the roads. In terms of navigation, it wasn’t too critical today. There were a couple of sections that were tricky, and my speed wasn’t bad either. A good experience because in the future I think I will know I can open, and it will be OK. Really happy with my result, and really happy to have this opportunity with the team to come and do this because it is a really cool.” Andrew Short #29, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna

As we’ve said over the last 11 days, luck and fate have quite an influence over Rally Raid. No matter how clean the performance, how experienced and steadfast the pilot, if destiny sees fit, it’ll knock the best of them down to their knees. But in each class during this iteration of the SWR, all (most of) the most promising athletes came through. So, the outcome of the Quads was no surprise. Although, the three contenders shuffled around here and there – mostly in the dunes – the favorite to win, Rafal Sonik #101, made sure the predictions came true. Following briskly behind was #102 Aleksandr Maksimov from Russia who certainly gave Sonik a run for his money. Unfortunately, the last, but still notable rider, #103 Arkadiusz Lindner, had to throw in the towel in a previous stage after suffering several problems on the racecourse.

“Neither my team nor I made any big mistakes on this rally. You need to be racing right from the start – not look just at the big stages – find the right tempo and know when to be patient. The organizers did a great job, the rally has been organized in a very good way, especially the road book. I have not even one compliant, the road book was almost perfect. If someone does the road book off-hand, not paying attention, I always complain but here no complaints whatsoever” – Rafal Sonik #101, Sonik Team

United States duo, Side-by-Side #229, had overcome hardships from the very beginning. Stage One, Austin Jones and Kellon Walch hit a stump while overtaking an adversary crashing their vehicle in a tremendous tumble. But with some diligent patchwork by their mechanics, they were back on the racecourse and keeping up the mid-pack. In another interesting turn of events, Top Five hopefuls,Jérôme Pélichet and co-driver Pascal Larroque raced flat out from 15th starting position (admittedly a mistake on Pélichet’s part) through terrain much like the vast rocky mountain ranges between Arizona and California. And the gamble paid off putting the #212 Raid Lynx team on the podium at 3rd with the likes of Geely Auto car #208 and, of course, Toyota Gazoo’s #201. Enduring a series of difficulties throughout the race, but resolute on a premiere finish, Wei Han and Min Liao accomplished just that standing at the second landing, just below the Gazoo team. A feat we weren’t sure they’d achieve. But even more difficult to believe, is three-time Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiya had never won the Silk Way Rally until now. Hard to imagine, considering at this year’s competition, he and navigator Mathieu Baumel cleaned house – victorious in all nine special stages.

“I am so happy to finally win this SILK WAY RALLY after having twice finished second. It was important to me because it is a big and beautiful race. We have crossed three very different countries, with completely different stages and terrain. I will never forget the first stage in China. I think it was one of the most difficult of my career. Winning all the specials since the start is simply the cherry on the cake, my seventh victory in row this season. It is the fruit, of course, of the work of a whole team and obviously my co-driver Mathieu, without which none of this would be possible.” – Nasser Al-Attiya #201, Toyota Gazoo Racing SA

Last but certainly not least, the gargantuan beasts in this niche brigade of warfare had put on a booming display, an orchestra of sounds preceding them. The emotions stirred by suspense and drama are akin to an opera. With so much back and forth between the KAMAZ-Master and the MAZ-SportAuto teams, the scale was tipped in favor of the Russians when Belarusian leaders #304 Siarhey Viazovich, Anton Zaparoshchanka and Andrei Zhyhulun eventually rolled out of contention, reaching the climax of a long-drawn-out battle. This ended the attack on the enemy and bore a civil dispute of sorts amongst battle mates over the order of rankings. By SS10, three KAMAZ-Master trucks took the top spots: First in the General Standings is truck #303 manned by Anton Shibalov, Dmitrii Nikitin and Ivan Tatarinov. Then, Andrey Karginov, Andrey Mokeev and Ivan Malkov in the #300 took Second. While #302 KAMAZ rounded out the in Third with Airat Mardeev, Dmitrii Svistunov and Sergei Krenev behind the dashboard. Something worth celebrating sure, but predictability can be boring. So it’s worth mentioning the boys from US CRV team #310 captained by Aviv Kadshai (ISR), Izhar Armony (USA) and Maoz Wilder (ISR) who, despite some mishaps, scrapped their way to 7th in the last stand.

“I will never forget this race, my first victory on the SILK WAY RALLY. This edition has been really magnificent, but very tough. So, my satisfaction is even greater. The most difficult thing was to navigate off-piste in the dunes on the first stage in China. I haven’t quite taken in what we have achieved. I am going to have a rest before expressing my emotions.” – Anton Shibalov #303, KAMAZ-Master

There was an eerie quiet in Dunhuang as racers climbed up and over the podium, saying their “Thank You’s” to an absent audience. “That’s just how they are here.” They being the local government, and here being a tightly run convention center, which apparently, intentionally kept out the public. A private event for a handful of employees and figureheads. Nevertheless, competitors, crews, organizers and media alike were just happy to reach the end of incredibly demanding event. One which rivals the infamous Dakar in quality, culture and challenge – on and off the racecourse. And one offering glory in a manner which makes three Visa applications, two layovers, language barriers, 5,000 kilometers over 10 stages, two border crossings and squat toilets all worth it. Next year marks the 10th edition of this Eurasian expedition, where organizers are sure to up their game. But the question will be, who will be back? Who’s brave enough to challenge the Silk Way Rally?

KEY NOTES

Ø JIAYUGUAN to DUNHUANG– Distance: 556.3KM; Special Stage: 255KM

Ø Of the 97 vehicles entered on this 2019 edition of the SILK WAY RALLY, 93 (24 bikes and quads, 51 cars and 16 trucks) officially took the start at Irkutsk on 6 July. At the finish, after ten days and some 5000 kilometers of racing there were 77 (22 bikes and quads, 43 cars and 12 trucks) at the final finish line in Dunhuang, an impressive 83% finish rate.

Ø “With an international team of very dedicated people we put together a rally that crossed three countries, with very different types of terrain and today we have on the podium three very worth winners of three different nationalities. This spirit of cooperation, combined with adventure and discovery, is what makes our rally so special and motivates us to do something even more exciting for next year’s 10 anniversary. Thank you to everybody who participated in the Silk Way Rally 2019; authorities, competitors, assistance, officials, media and organizers, for making it all possible.” – Vladamir Chagin (Silk Way Rally Director)

Ø “This SILK WAY RALLY 2019 provoked in us every emotion possible. The introduction of the motorcycle category as part of the FIM World Championship was a great success. The race was thrilling from beginning to end and I am certain that the many factory teams entered appreciated the diversity of the terrain and the professionalism of the organization. Followed by millions of TV viewers worldwide, this 9th edition gave us amazing images of fantastic scenery that will stay in our collective memories for a very long time. The SILK WAY RALLY has entered a new dimension and is ready to take another big step next year for its 10th anniversary edition.” – Frédéric Lequien (Silk Way Rally Deputy Director)

Quotes:

First Place Bikes, Sam Sunderland #6, Red Bull KTM Factory:“It has been an amazing experience, going through so much different scenery, seeing so many different sights. It is one of the things I really like most about our sport. Congratulations to the organizers for putting it all together – they did a great job. As far as the race was concerned it was a tough one. Especially these last three days in China. Fortunately, by the time we got here I had a small lead and was able to manage my race a little bit. Many thanks to my team for all their hard work.”

Third Place Bikes, Adrien Van Beveren #10, Yamaha Rally Team:“I rode really fast to try to catch Andrew (Short) and then right at the end I lost 2 or 3 minutes in the river bed to find the good way and I lost all the time I taken back til then. I’m disappointed because I pushed so much through all the special to make the difference – it is a shame to have this mistake at the end. It is difficult to take back seconds and so easy to lose minutes. It is like that…”

Second Place Cars, Han Wei #208, Geely Auto:“My car has suffered from an engine problem since the start – sand in a cylinder inherited from a previous rally. It is why throughout the event we have constantly been adding oil, without ever knowing if we would be able to get to the end. I would like therefore thank my co-driver for his excellent job…and my sponsor for having supplied me with such excellent oil!”

Third Place Cars, Jérôme Pélichet #212, Optimus Raid Lynx:“What joy to finish on this final podium. I knew there were about a dozen cars that were faster than us on the start line of this Silk Way Rally, so I was hoping for a place in the top five. But finishing third? I would never have bet on it. This morning, after yesterday’s problems, we set off in attack mode. I made a mistake in not asking to be reclassified, so we started 15th, and I was worried about some strategy from the Shanxi Yunxiang team buggies. So, I drove flat out, to post the third time on the stage and make sure of our third place on the podium, which will be one of the best memories of my career… Right now, I’m ready to set off for another two days racing in the Gobi Desert!”

TOP TEN RESULTS [SS10]

MOTORCYCLE

  1. #7 Kevin Benavides (ARG), MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM
  2. #10 Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), YAMAHA RALLY TEAM
  3. #29 Andrew Short (USA), ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING
  4. #11 Joan Barreda (ESP), MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM
  5. #9 Jose` Cornejo Florimo (ESP), MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM
  6. #6 Sam Sunderland (GBR), RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING
  7. #4 Paolo Goncalvez (POT), HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY
  8. #77 Luciano Benavides (ARG), RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING
  9. #25 Oriol Mena Valdearcos (ESP), HERO MOTORSPORTS TEAM RALLY
  10. #16 Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), YAMAHA RALLY TEAM

QUAD

  1. #102 Aleksandr Maksimov (RUS), MAKSIMOV ALEKSANDR
  2. #101 Rafal Sonik (POL), SONIK TEAM

CAR

  1. #201 Nasser Al-Attiya (QAT); Mathieu Baumel (FRA), TOYOTA GAZOO RACING SA
  2. #205 Eric Van Loon (NLD); Sebastien Delaunay (FRA), OVERDRIVE RACING
  3. #212 Jérome Pelichet (FRA); Pascal Larroque (FRA), RAID LYNX
  4. #236 Ming Zhang (CHN); Xu Qin (CHN), SHANXI YUNXIANG CLUB
  5. #223 Yungang Zi (CHN); Zengrong Wang (CHN), SHANXI YUNXIANG QIMOSPORT
  6. #235 Ping Sun (CHN); Li Ma (CHN), SHANXI YUNXIANG CLUB
  7. #203 Mathieu Serradori (FRA); Fabian Lurquin (BEL), SRT TEAM
  8. #216 Jean-Remy Bergounhe (FRA); Jean Brucy (FRA), SRT TEAM
  9. #245 Feng Chen (CHN); Yicheng Wang (CHN), SOARING DRAGON RACING TEAM
  10. #208 Wei Han (CHN); Min Liao (CHN), GEELY AUTO SHELL LUBRICANT TEAM

TRUCK

  1. #303 Anton Shibalov (RUS); Dmitrii Nikitin (RUS); Ivan Tatarinov (RUS), KAMAZ-MASTER TEAM
  2. #300 Andrey Karginov (RUS); Andrey Mokeev (RUS); Ivan Malkov (RUS), KAMAZ-MASTER TEAM
  3. #307 Aliaksei Vishneuski (BLR); Pavel Haranin (BLR); Andrei Neviarovich (BLR), MAZ-SPORTAUTO
  4. #311 Aleksandr Vasilevski (BLR); Maksim Novikau (BLR); Vitaly Murylev (BLR), MAZ-SPORTAUTO
  5. #302 Airat Mardeev (RUS); Dmitrii Svistunov (RUS); Sergei Krenev (RUS), KAMAZ-MASTER TEAM
  6. #301 Maarten Van Den Brink (NLD); Wouter De Graaff (NLD); Mitchel Van Den Brink (NLD), MAMMOET RALLY SPORT
  7. #305 Sergey Kupriyanov (RUS); Alexander Kupriyanov (RUS); Akhmet Galiautdinov (RUS), KAMAZ-MASTER TEAM
  8. #310 Aviv Kadshai (ISR); Izhar Armony (USA); Maoz Wilder (ISR), CRV
  9. #312 Boleslav Levitskii (RUS); Dolgov Stanislav, GAZ RAID SPORT
  10. #306 Mikhail Shklyaev (RUS); Aleksandr Laguta (RUS), GAZ RAID SPORT

 

TOP TEN IN THE GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

MOTORCYCLE

  1. #6 Sam Sunderland (GBR), RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING
  2. #29 Andrew Short (USA), ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING
  3. #10 Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), YAMAHA RALLY TEAM
  4. #7 Kevin Benavides (ARG), MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM
  5. #77 Luciano Benavides (ARG), RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING
  6. #25 Oriol Mena Valdearcos (ESP), HERO MOTORSPORTS TEAM RALLY
  7. #44 Laia Sanz (ESP), RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING
  8. #31Adam Tomiczek (POL), ORLEN TEAM
  9. #11 Joan Barreda (ESP), MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM
  10. #32Maciej Giemza (POL), ORLEN TEAM

QUAD

  1. #101 Rafal Sonik (POL), SONIK TEAM
  2. #102 Aleksandr Maksimov (RUS), MAKSIMOV ALEKSANDR

CAR/UTV

  1. #201 Nasser Al-Attiya (QAT); Mathieu Baumel (FRA), TOYOTA GAZOO RACING SA
  2. #208 Wei Han (CHN); Min Liao (CHN), GEELY AUTO SHELL LUBRICANT TEAM
  3. #212 Jérome Pelichet (FRA); Pascal Larroque (FRA), RAID LYNX
  4. #235 Ping Sun (CHN); Li Ma (CHN), SHANXI YUNXIANG CLUB
  5. #236 Ming Zhang (CHN); Xu Qin (CHN), SHANXI YUNXIANG CLUB
  6. #217 Rong Zi (CHN); Xinjian Xing (CHN), SHANXI YUNXIANG CLUB
  7. #245 Feng Chen (CHN); Yicheng Wang (CHN), SOARING DRAGON RACING TEAM
  8. #209 Denis Krotov (RUS); Dmytro Tsyro (RUS), MSK RALLY TEAM
  9. #216 Jean-Remy Bergounhe (FRA); Jean Brucy (FRA), SRT TEAM
  10. #205 Eric Van Loon (NLD); Sebastien Delaunay (FRA), OVERDRIVE RACING

TRUCK

  1. #303 Anton Shibalov (RUS); Dmitrii Nikitin (RUS); Ivan Tatarinov (RUS), KAMAZ-MASTER TEAM
  2. #300 Andrey Karginov (RUS); Andrey Mokeev (RUS); Ivan Malkov (RUS), KAMAZ-MASTER TEAM
  3. #302 Airat Mardeev (RUS); Dmitrii Svistunov (RUS); Sergei Krenev (RUS), KAMAZ-MASTER TEAM
  4. #301 Maarten Van Den Brink (NLD); Wouter De Graaff (NLD); Mitchel Van Den Brink (NLD), MAMMOET RALLY SPORT
  5. #305 Sergey Kupriyanov (RUS); Alexander Kupriyanov (RUS); Akhmet Galiautdinov (RUS), KAMAZ-MASTER TEAM
  6. #311 Aleksandr Vasilevski (BLR); Maksim Novikau (BLR); Vitaly Murylev (BLR), MAZ-SPORTAUTO
  7. #310 Aviv Kadshai (ISR); Izhar Armony (USA); Maoz Wilder (ISR), CRV
  8. #307 Aliaksei Vishneuski (BLR); Pavel Haranin (BLR); Andrei Neviarovich (BLR), MAZ-SPORTAUTO
  9. #312 Boleslav Levitskii (RUS); Dolgov Stanislav, GAZ RAID SPORT
  10. #306 Mikhail Shklyaev (RUS); Aleksandr Laguta (RUS), GAZ RAID SPORT

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