The final route was unveiled at the presentation ceremony held in Moscow, 37 days before the start.
This is one of the biggest sporting and human challenges of the year, on a new and innovative course. The 9th edition of the SILK WAY RALLY will start in a month's time, on July 6 from Irkutsk (Russia), not far from the shores of the Baikal lake and will be divided into ten varied and technical stages, crossing Mongolia from North to South and ending in the heart of the ocean of dunes of the famous Gobi desert, on 16 July in Dunhuang (China).
A total of 5,000 kilometres, with more than 2,700 km of timed sections, crossing three countries that offer the perfect alchemy between technical difficulty, variety and beauty of landscapes. From the Taiga of Eastern Siberia to the cathedral dunes of the Gobi Desert and the endless steppes of Mongolia, this SILK WAY RALLY 2019 will not only be the most challenging cross-country rally of the year, but also an outstanding adventure.
TOP PILOTS AT THE START !
Bikes : five official Teams
A trial run, a masterstroke! For its very first edition including the motorcycle category, the SILK WAY RALLY 2019 will welcome all official Teams. And for a good reason: the event will, from the outset, be one of the main events of the FIM WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP FOR CROSS-COUNTRY RALLIES. Winner of the first round in Abu Dhabi and of the 2017 Dakar, Briton SAM SUNDERLAND, will lead the RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING, while the ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA RACING FACTORY team will field the former MX and SX champion, American ANDREW SHORT. As for YAMAHA RALLY TEAM, ADRIEN VAN BEVEREN dreams of offering a resounding victory in unknown territory to the « blue men ». A crown that the MONSTER ENERGY HONDA team also dreams of, with, in addition to the fast Catalan rider JOAN BARREDA, the latest phenomenon of the discipline, young Chilean JOSE IGNACIO CORNEJO. Last but not least, for their first season in this competition, all hopes of the Indians of the HERO MOTORSPORTS TEAM RALLY go to the experienced Portuguese PAULO GONÇALVES.
We should also note that the quad category, that is taking its first steps on this SILK WAY RALLY, will be led by the five-time world champion and former Dakar winner, Pole RAFAL SONIK (YAMAHA RAPTOR 700).
Cars : AL-ATTIYAH wants revenge
The SILK WAY RALLY is one of the last major events in the world to resist NASSER AL-ATTIYAH's talent and ambition. Second in 2010 on a VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG, second again last year on a TOYOTA HILUX, the Qatari’s last word was not yet spoken. The three-time Dakar winner will nevertheless still be the man to beat in the car category, where his main rivals will be his team-mates in the OVERDRIVE team, such as Saudi YAZEED AL RAJHI, winner in 2018, Dutchman BERNHARD TEN BRINKE and Russian VLADIMIR VASILYEV. But the surprise could also come from the two-wheel drive category, very well represented on this SILK WAY RALLY 2019 with the PEUGEOT 3008 DKR MAXI of American BRYCE MENZIES, and the dreaded buggies of Chinaman HAN WEI (GEELY SMG BUGGY), Russian ANDREY RUDSKOY (G-FORCE BARS) and Frenchman MATHIEU SERRADORI (BUGGY SRT).
The booming SSV (Side by Side Vehicles) category will offer a top-level fight between Russian SERGEI KARIAKIN (MAVERICK X3) and Spaniard JOSÉ PENA CAMPO (POLARIS RZR).
Vladimir Chagin, Head of the International Project Silk Way Rally: «Such project could not come to life without the support of our partners.
This year general partner of the rally is PJSC Gazprom, a global energy company. Successive years we chose filling station network «Gazpromneft» as our fuel partner for the high quality.
OPTI fuel performed excellently in extreme conditions, and our continuing cooperation is the best proof to that fact.
Our consistent partner PJSC SIBUR is the largest integrated petrochemicals company in Russia.
You know that Toyota Hilux for the forth time already became the official cars of the Silk Way Rally. To be honest I don’t see any alternative. We chose Toyota not for the name and not for international racing triumph, but for us as the organizers of the international event safety and reliability stands on the first place. And Toyota is producing vehicles that you can rely upon in any situation. Distinguishing characteristics offroad, endurance, an amazing ability to adapt to harsh road conditions and climate… We can continue long. Main idea is that Land Cruiser Prado, Land Cruiser 200, Fortuner and Hilux tackle the challenges delegated to them. So it is good to know that Toyota is with us this year.
Gazprombank, our financial partner, is one of the largest multifunctional banks in Russia.
Our projects with "RUSSIAN RADIO" – the largest radio station in Russia will continue this season. You will be able to listen the race diaries every day during the rally.
We would like to thank our information partners specially. This year the federal television channels MATCH TV, Russia24, NTV, 360 support us. And it is pleasant that our long-term cooperation with the Russia Today media group continues. In 2019 the International Agency and Radio Sputnik of the Media Group acts as an international information partner of the competition, and Sport RIA Novosti is the information partner of the Silk Way Rally. This year, the Sputnik radio team will travel all the way along with the rally participants and will make live broadcasts from the Sputnik mobile radio studio.
This year the Chinese Cultural and Tourism Corporation (Cayman) has joined to our project supporters. The corporation works in three directions: the cultural and tourist sector management, the hotel business management and the sports development.
See you at the start of the international 2019 Silk Way Rally in Irkutsk!”
Trucks : KARGINOV on his way to a second win in a row
With no less than five trucks entered, the KAMAZ-MASTER team will once again be the favourite at the start of this 9th edition of the SILK WAY RALLY. The battle promises to be epic between ANDREI KARGINOV, the defending champion and his teammate AIRAT MARDEEV, double winner of the event in 2012 and 2016. Aboard his impressive RENAULT, Dutchman MAARTEN VAN DEN BRINK (MAMMOET RALLYSPORT) will be looking to get involved in the debate, as will Japanese TERUHITO SUGAWARA (HINO 500).
All categories combined, there will be a good hundred competitors to start on July 6 from Irkutsk with, behind the big favourites, a good number of amateurs who come to compete against themselves and for whom this SILK WAY RALLY 2019 will be a daunting challenge, with only one goal: reaching the finish of this extraordinary adventure, ten days later in Dunhuang.
▪︎ JULY 5 & 6th ADMINISTRATIVE CHECKS AND SCRUTINEERING IN IRKUTSK
▪︎ JULY 6th START PODIUM CEREMONY IN IRKUTSK
▪︎ JULY 7th to 16th 2 STAGES IN RUSSIA, 5 STAGES IN MONGOLIA AND 3 STAGES IN CHINA
▪︎ JULY 16th FINISH CEREMONY IN DUNHUANG
The Silk Way Rally 2018, an exceptional TV coverage.
In 2018, more than 74 broadcasters signed TV rights agreements, allowing the Silk Way Rally to be broadcasted in no less than 196 countries and thus to consolidate its worldwide exposure, in particular by broadcasting dedicated programmes on international sports channels, in addition to those on the national channels of the countries crossed.
GAZPROM, MAIN PARTNER OF THE RALLY
PJSC "Gazprom" is a global energetic company. Gazprom see their mission as the reliable, effective and well-balanced supply of consumers with natural gas, other kinds of energy resources and the products of their processing and are main partner of the Silk Way Rally since 2009.