Posted on July 09, 2019

Stage three of the 2019 Silk Way Rally brought high-speed offroad action to the varied terrain of Mongolia. As the rally left Russia a number of top competitors put in impressive performances to lift themselves up the overall rankings. With numerous challenges still to be faced in Mongolia and China, there’s still plenty to play for at Silk Way.

A third stage victory in as many days has seen Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) make the perfect start to the Silk Way Rally. Al-Attiyah and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) sped over the Russian border into Mongolia to increase their advantage in the car category. The gap to second place now stands at over 20 minutes. "Whenever we find ourselves in good condition we try to push. We’re trying to make a gap at the front while we can. Today we were in a good rhythm with no problems, except one flat tyre." – Nasser Al-Attiyah.

Al-Attiyah and Baumel have enough rally-raid experience to know that they will have to guard against complacency on the remaining stages. Yesterday’s retirement of reigning car class champion Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU) proved once again that rally-raid is an extremely unpredictable sport. The truckers of Team Kamaz Master have had to watch on as their rival Siarhay Viazovich (BLR) helped himself to two early stage wins. Kamaz turned the tables on stage three however, with Andrey Karginov (RUS) the quickest between Ulan-Ude and Ulaanbaatar.

"The only thing that could have given us a problem today was the dust, but we showed we can drive with caution when it’s required." – Andrey Karginov. The Kamaz truck of Anton Shibalov (RUS) joined Karginov on the stage three podium as the Russian squad start to impose themselves on the overall rankings. "For sure the dust was main difficulty of today’s stage." – Anton Shibalov. In the bike race there was another stage win for overnight leader Kevin Benavides (ARG). The Honda rider was followed home by his team-mate Joan Barreda (ESP) who finished second. Red Bull KTM Factory Team riders Luciano Benavides (ARG) and Sam Sunderland (GBR) were third and fourth fastest on the stage.

"I was feeling good, like I have been doing since the beginning of this rally. I’m finding a nice rhythm." – Luciano Benavides. Kevin Benavides has retained his bike race lead thanks to the stage win on day three of the Silk Way Rally. Sunderland is well placed to put pressure on the leader on tomorrow's stage. "It wasn’t the goal to be opening the route today. We had a huge contrast of terrain across a big distance. Oh well, somebody has got to go in front and today that was me. It worked out pretty good." – Sam Sunderland. Also still in the mix in the bike race are female riders Laia Sanz (ESP) and Anastasiya Nifontova (RUS).

Tomorrow's fourth stage is a monster 470-kilometre loop around the Ulaanbaatar bivouac. Everything is still on the line as the Silk Way Rally continues its Mongolian debut. Find all action footage, interviews, still images, news cuts, action clips and stories covering the 2019 Silk Way Rally here

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2019 Silk Way Rally: Stage 3 Results

Car: Top 3
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA)   Toyota Hilux
2. Kun Liu (CHN)/Hongyu Pan (CHN)   SMG Buggy   +00:21:10
3. Wei Han (CHN)/Liao Min (CHN)   SMG Buggy   +00:22:55

Bike: Top 3
1. Kevin Benavides (ARG)   Honda   05:20:42
2. Sam Sunderland (GBR)   KTM   +00:02:54
3. Joan Barreda (ESP)   Honda   +00:03:09

Truck: Top 3
1. Siarhay Viazovich (BLR)   MAZ
2. Andrey Karginov (RUS)   Kamaz   +00:03:16
3. Anton Shibalov (RUS)   Kamaz   +00:06:05