Posted on July 01, 2019

The finest offroad racers on the planet are making their way to the Siberian outpost of Irkutsk for the start of the 2019 Silk Way Rally. There are multiple Dakar champions in attendance as well as exciting new rally-raid talents. Any competitor chasing success must first master the 5,000-kilometre route through Russia, Mongolia and China.

One man on a mission at the upcoming Silk Way will be Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT). The sand racing specialist finished second at the 2018 Silk Way alongside his co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA). The Toyota Hilux duo will looking to go one better this year, and add to the Dakar triumph they achieved earlier this year. “Last time we raced we won Rally Kazakhstan. This has been a good year for us so far, six races and six wins.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah

Looking to chase Al-Attiyah down on the 10 Silk Way stages will be 53 rival car crews, including Bryce Menzies (USA) and co-driver Xavier Panseri (FRA) in their Peugeot 3008 DKR. This is the second visit to the Silk Way for Menzies after he raced through Russia, Kazakhstan and China in 2017. On that occasion the American helped himself to a stage win before his chances of a podium finish faded in the Gobi Desert. “I’m so excited to be back. I can’t be more excited and ready to race the Silk Way Rally.” – Bryce Menzies

There will be loud cheers for the trucks of Team Kamaz Master as they leave their native Russia to carry on racing in Mongolia and China. The serial winning truck team have four crews entered into the race. Andrey Karginov (RUS), the previous edition’s winner, together with his fellow racers Ayrat Mardeev (RUS), Anton Shibalov (RUS) and Sergey Kupriyanov (RUS), will be competing for the podium. Kupriyanov’s crew will once again take the wheel of the unique gas and diesel-powered Kamaz. “The route looks very challenging with 10 diverse special stages stretching across Russia, crossing Mongolia from north to south, before ending in the famous Gobi Desert.” – Sergey Savostin, Kamaz Team Manager at Silk Way Rally

For the first time ever at the Silk Way, this edition will feature bikes and quads. In fact, the Silk Way bike race will be the second round of the 2019 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. Looking to get their hands on precious championship points with be the Red Bull KTM Factory Team trio of Sam Sunderland (GBR), Luciano Benavides (ARG) and Laia Sanz (ESP). “It was great to finish second in the first race of the championship in Abu Dhabi. I want to carry on like this at the Silk Way. Feeling good, learning all the time and keeping a cool head.” – Luciano Benavides

We’ll also be keep our eyes on Anastasiya Nifontova (RUS) who was the top placed female biker in the “Original” by Motul class at the last edition of the Dakar. The ninth edition of the Silk Way Rally gets underway in Irkutsk, Russia on July 7 and finishes in Dunhuang on July 16.

2019 Silk Way Rally: Schedule

July 7 – Stage 1 – IRKUTSK to BAYKALSK
July 8 – Stage 2 – BAYKALSK to ULAN UDE
July 9 – Stage 3 – ULAN UDE to ULAANBAATAR
July 10 – Stage 4 – ULAANBAATAR to ULAANBAATAR
July 11 – Stage 5 – ULAANBAATAR to MANDALGOVI
July 12 – Stage 6 – MANDALGOVI to DALANZADGAD
July 13 – Stage 7 – DALANZADGAD to BAYINBAOLIGE
July 14 – Stage 8 – BAYINBAOLIGE to ALASHAN
July 15 – Stage 9 – ALASHAN to JIAYUGUAN
July 16 – Stage 10 – JIAYUGUAN to DUNHUANG

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