Silk Way Rally: Pre-event notes

SILK WAY RALLY: THE RETURN OF THE "HOT SHOTS" In less than 10 days, the teams of the 48 cars and 16 trucks enrolled will start the second edition of the Silk Way Rally -- a Dakar Series event that marks the start of the preparation phase in the...

SILK WAY RALLY: THE RETURN OF THE "HOT SHOTS"

In less than 10 days, the teams of the 48 cars and 16 trucks enrolled will start the second edition of the Silk Way Rally -- a Dakar Series event that marks the start of the preparation phase in the lead towards the 2011 Dakar Rally Raid. Title holders Carlos Sainz and Firdaus Kabirov will take a first run in their brand new machines freshly out of the Volkswagen and Kamaz workshops.

It's "back to school" in the world of rally raid as well and the first event of the sporting discipline is due to take place in Russia; it is the Silk Way Rally, that will -- this year -- take its contenders from the imperial city of Saint-Petersburg to the town of Sochi. The sport and adventure challenge is more than 4,500 km long with exactly 2,014 km of special stages and will end in the city that will welcome the next edition of the Winter Olympic Games. But before other contenders can compete on the sky slopes of Sochi, the drivers of the Silk Way Rally will be racing on the plains, forests and deserts of Russia. Eight demanding and versatile stages have been outlined on a north-south axis that the rally shall be exploring this year. The crafts of finding the right trajectories and of crossing sand dunes will be extensively used on a route that will only bring victory to the most enduring and best performing contenders.

The format of the rally is perfect for it to be a real-life trial ride before the Dakar. As in 2009, the Volkswagen and Kamaz teams are precisely banking on the Silk Way Rally to prepare and fine tune their teams and vehicles. The brand new Race Touareg will race for the first time here with a quartet of top-notch drivers behind the wheels: i.e. Carlos Sainz -- the only one to be driving his third version of the winning machine -- will have to count on his talent to keep Nasser Al Attiyah under control, and to beat Giniel De Villiers and Mark Miller. In the trucks category, the Kamaz squad has also upgraded the truck that won the Dakar with Firdaus Kabirov behind the wheel in 2009 and Vladimir Chagin in 2010. But dueling will most certainly resume with Team De Rooy and with Ales Loprais as well, as the latter will also be driving a brand new truck by Tatra.

On four wheels or more, all the contenders enrolled in the Silk Way Rally will have their minds set on achievement, despite the fact that the places available on the podium or at the other levels in the rankings will be few... and they will certainly not forget that the Silk Way Rally will also be offering to all of those who get to Sochi a 5,000$ bonus.

-source: aso

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Series Dakar
Drivers Mark Miller , Carlos Sainz , Firdaus Kabirov , Ales Loprais