Silk Way Rally: Series preview

Jean-Pierre Fontenay: "Until the last kilometre" As soon as the start from St Petersburg on Saturday, the confrontation will begin between the competitors of the second edition of Silk Way Rally, a Dakar Series event for which the course has...

Jean-Pierre Fontenay: "Until the last kilometre"

As soon as the start from St Petersburg on Saturday, the confrontation will begin between the competitors of the second edition of Silk Way Rally, a Dakar Series event for which the course has been guided by the principles of the discipline, with a variety of terrain that calls for a capacity to adapt on behalf of the different crews. To explain the strategic stakes of this week of racing, Jean-Pierre Fontenay, winner of the 1998 Dakar and co-designer of the course believes there are three key moments that could prove to be decisive.

Stage 2: Staraya Russa - Viazma
The battle for the title will certainly start early, probably between the four Race Touaregs lined up by Volkswagen. And knowing the nature of the favourites, each and everyone of them will want to take an early advantage in the race. But on that day with two fairly different timed sectors, there are already quite a few traps to avoid. The tracks are rather fast and adapted to a WRC type of driving, but in the woods for example, a tiny mistake can cost minutes and maybe a dozen of them.

Stage 5: Volgograd - Astrakhan
We will here be at the heart of the "sand" part of the rally, with the longest special of the week. The competitors will certainly remember the Scorpion Erg. The size of the dunes shouldn't surprise the leading drivers but one will have to remain cautious. First of all, because there will be quite a few way- points to go through: the complicity between driver and co-driver will therefore be crucial. Other than that, it is often on the little dunes that the vehicles get stuck, by lack of concentration. On such a demanding day, it'll be a factor to consider, especially for the crews that have less experience.

Stage 8: Maykop - Sochi
On the last two days, the competitors will have to re-adapt to a fast pace. But despite the shorter mileage of the final stage, the title will be up for grabs until the final of the 2014 kilometres of the race. There are indeed several fords to negotiate wisely before reaching the finish line.

The stages of the Silk Way Rally
Stage 1, Saturday 11th of September: St-Petersburg - Staraya Russa (86 km of special)
Stage 2, Sunday 12 of September: Staraya Russa - Vyazma (105 km + 100 km)
Stage 3, Monday 13 of September: Vyazma - Lipetsk (218 km)
Stage 4, Tuesday 14 of September: Lipetsk - Volgograd (302 km)
Stage 5, Wednesday 15 of September: Volgograd - Astrakhan (446 km)
Stage 6, Thursday 16 of September: Astrakhan - Elista (394 km)
Stage 7, Friday 17 of September: Elista - Maykop (347 km)
Stage 8, Saturday 18 of September: Maykop - Sochi Krasnaya Polyana (16 km)

-source: aso

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Jean-Pierre Fontenay