The official route for the 2017 Silk Way Rally has been announced with nearly 10 000km split over 14 tough stages stretching through Russia, Kazakhstan and China – only the best in the business need apply for this one.
Kicking off from Red Square in Moscow on 7 July competitors will face three stages in Russia and then four more days of racing in Kazakhstan. Then comes a total of eight stages in China with no less than seven of these crossing the dunes of the Gobi Desert.
This year, Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) and rally champ Sébastien Loeb (FRA) will once again race alongside reigning Silk Way champion Cyril Despres (FRA) for Peugeot.
Sand racing specialist Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) will compete in a Toyota Hilux, as will former Dakar winner Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) with his co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz (GER).
Sébastien Loeb: “The Silk Way Rally is a nice competition, but a very long one. We will need to manage it properly. Consistency is the key. It’s good that we have been improving rally after rally and we need to keep avoiding mistakes. For me as the driver and also for my co-driver Daniel (Elena) we need to be aware that any small error can cost us a lot. So gaining experience and staying consistent is what we will be working on.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “Of course I’m really excited to compete in this race. I raced in Russia in 2009 and 2010 and it was all an unbelievable experience. Now the event and format has evolved into something much, much bigger and I can’t wait to be a part of that. From what I’ve seen the stages in China will be very enjoyable with open tracks in the Gobi Desert to navigate and some massive dunes to cross. I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun and we will try to win this race.”