Posted on July 21, 2018

The 2018 Silk Way Rally is off to a flying start on the banks of the Caspian Sea in southern Russia. Today saw competitors take on the perilous sands of the Takyr desert during the opening stage of this Eurasian offroad challenge. Making early impressions on the leaderboard were Nasser Al-Attiyah in the car category and truck racer Dmitry Sotnikov.

The city of Astrakhan played host to a magnificent welcome ceremony on Friday night as race fans came from far and wide to catch a glimpse of some of the most impressive machinery motorsports has to offer. However, this morning was all about the serious business of racing as the Silk Way convoy took on a timed special stage of over 300 kilometres over desert sands.

The terrain was quick to show its teeth as the rally ended prematurely for Nani Roma of Spain who was forced to retire through injury on stage one. The Spaniard is a former Dakar Rally winner in both bike and car categories and had been tipped to do big things at this Silk Way. It was a different story for another former Dakar winner, Nasser Al-Attiyah alongside his co-driver Mathieu Baumel. The Qatari driver and his French sidekick sprinted across the sands of the Takyr desert to win the opening stage in their Toyota Hilux. It’s the perfect start for the pair as they look to get the better of the rivals on the road to Moscow. “Mathieu and I have set the target and I know we have the car that is more than capable of taking the win against strong opposition.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah

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Al-Attiyah was followed home 2m30s later by Harry Hunt of Great Britain with Yazeed Al-Rajhi of Saudi Arabia a further 18 minutes behind. Recording the fastest time in the truck category on today’s 311km loop stage from Astrakhan and back was reigning Silk Way champion Dmitry Sotnikov. The Kamaz trucker was given huge cheers as he crossed the finish line in his native Russia. Sotnikov’s Kamaz team-mates Andrey Karginov and Ayrat Mardeev are also up at the business end of the leaderboard after today’s stage. “If you’re attentive and concentrated on the entire route, you could get a great result at the finish!” – Dmitry Sotnikov

Get into race mode with Team Kamaz Master by watching our latest edit from the crew here.

The challenges continue at the Silk Way tomorrow as the competitors head towards Elista for an overnight marathon stage. This means they will be without the aid of mechanics and will be forced to undertake all necessary repairs themselves before being reunited with their crews in Astrakhan on Monday.

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Car results after stage one – Top 5

1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)   Toyota   03:36:23
2. Harry Hunt (GBR)   Peugeot   +00:02:30
3. Yazeed Al-Rahji (SAU)   MINI   +00:20:27
4. Denis Krotov (RUS)    BMW    +00:40:29
5. Andrey Rudskoy (RUS)   G-Force   +00:55:12

Truck results after stage one – Top 5

1. Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS)   Kamaz   03:59:47
2. Siarhei Viazovich (BLR)   Maz   +00:05:59
3. Andrey Karginov (RUS)   Kamaz   +00:09:23
4. Aliaksei Vishneuski (BLR)   Maz   +00:10:15
5. Ayrat Mardeev (RUS)   Kamaz   +00:17:00