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After the solemn start ceremony on Red Square the participants will take off towards scenic twisting roads, rush through boundless Russian fields, where only the best navigators will be able to found the right direction in high grass. The 7th edition of the rally will include the all-new and untraveled routes of European part of Russia, that will be enjoyed by both admirers of classic rally and fans of speedy sections in open spaces.
Moscow – Tcheboksary / July 8
Leg distance: 726,95 km
Special distance: 61,43 км
Leg 1. The trace to Nijni Novogorod
Road section of 572kms to reach the 61km - special stage. Special rather fast between cultures, more technical for pilots in the middle of the section. It will be a good exercice to perfect the last settings on the vehicles. Navigation has not been left out, distances will have to be double-checked.
Tcheboksary – Ufa / July 9
Leg distance: 785,63 km
Special distance: 157,00 km
Leg 2. Grand Kazan track
This stage will require driving skills. The track is sometimes narrow and very technical. Some parts are very fast and winding. Attention must be paid so as not to cut the track on the main part of the special, there are hidden holes on some places. The road-book must be followed with care.
Ufa – Kostanay / July 10
Leg distance: 876,39 km
Special distance: 329,25 km
Leg 3. River tobol in sight
Last special in Russia before crossing the border to Kazakhstan and reaching Kostanaï. The stage is rather fast with many changes of direction. Co-pilots will have to pay attention to the road-book ! Many fast and technical sections between cultures and vegetation.
Kazakhstan is a linking bridge between Europe and Asia. Stretching from the Volga Delta to Tian Shan mountains, it will become a part of Silk Way Rally route for the third time. Breathtaking lakes and canyons together with mountain plateaus and ravines are a landmark of rally routes, which once again will set up a challenge for racers, their piloting skills and ability to adapt to surface conditions. That is a true test of endurance in the conditions of frequent elevation changes and rising temperature.
Kostanay – Astana / July 11
Leg distance: 908,80 km
Special distance: 373,22 km
Leg 4. Towards akmola
First stage of the rally with two selective sections. The first special stage starts on a rather fast soil track, then it becomes more hostile along a big river to end up around Kazakh cultures. The second stage is fast between cultivated fields. Then 342kms of road section to reach the capital of Kazakhstan.
Astana – Semey / July 12
Leg distance: 849,54 km
Special distance: 484,47 km
Leg 5. Direction Semipalatinsk
With this special, the 2017 Silk Way Rally is meeting its first difficulties. Big fast sections in the Kazakh steppe. Navigation alone will lead to reach top rankings. The route will be going along magnificient lakes and landscapes that will not leave crews indifferent.
Semey – Urdzhar / July 13
Leg distance: 597,13 km
Special distance: 387,86 km
Leg 6. On the way to Turksib
The special starts with many changes of direction. Caution should be exercised on the small tricky off-track sections and on the traps on and alongside the track, mainly in fast sections. Copilots must follow their headings carefully. This special is fast and made of 60% of soil and 40% of gravel.
Urdzhar – Karamay / July 14
Leg distance: 412,90 km
Special distance: 106,60 km
Leg 7. Looking for black gold
This 106kms special stage will be a pure pleasure for pilots. It is traced in beautiful landscapes, both hilly and highly vegetated . The finish takes place almost at the border with China where serious business will start in terms of dunes crossings.
Karamay – Urumqi / July 15
Leg distance: 436,34 km
Special distance: 250,37 km
Leg 8. Following the Uyghurs of Xinjiang
Difficult geographic area due to crops and population in the south with the mountain, and up north numerous areas with many drillings. The start of the special is the same as last year up to CP1, then it gets fast and sandy in vegetation. Then the track still sandy becomes more technical with many turns uphill and downhill. Pilots will have to use all their driving skills on the main part of the special. Towards the end navigation will be predominant with many changes of tracks.
Silk Way Rally caravan will cross Tian Shan mountains and enter China, where the keen sporting competition in Gobi desert will once again require the highest attention. In China competitors will explore the secrets of ancient civilization and unknown lands. The giant dunes and great sand massifs, extreme temperatures, sudden changes of direction and hidden traps will make the journey to Xi’an an unforgettable adventure and an incredible human and physical experience.
Urumqi – Hami / July 17
Leg distance: 813,89 km
Special distance: 421,00 km
Leg 9. Direction Yizhou
First big and nice dunes of the rally on 40 kms. They are less difficult to cross than last year but longest, attention must be paid to headings and changes of valleys. Navigation has been made easier thanks to waypoints on these first dunes. Then the route is alternating between track and of track sections. The end of this navigation stage becomes faster on tracks.
Hami – Dunhuang / July 18
Leg distance: 517,53 km
Special distance: 360,28 km
Leg 10. The 492 chapels of Mogao
The start of the special is very fast, then the track becomes more technical with many changes of direction. There are some very nice fast sections in a big wadi with magnificent landscapes. Throughout the last part of the stage, the track is more or less visible alongside a chott, easy to loose if headings are not strictly followed.
Dunhuang – Jiayuguan / July 19
Leg distance: 783,84 km
Special distance: 488,65 km
Leg 11. The fort of the fertile valley
Second time of the rally where two special stages will be run in the same day. The first one starts in sometimes very soft dunes, on around 20 kms. Then the track becomes more technical but fast alongside the mountain, up to the CP. The end of this first special is fast with navigation till the finish. 146kms of road section will then lead competitors to the start of special B made of wide sandy tracks, with nice parts between canyons, and a very nice finish.
Jiayuguan – Alxa youqi / July 20
Leg distance: 483,79 km
Special distance: 254,75 km
Leg 12. A long journey...
One of the two hardest stages of the rally with beautiful dune passes at the beginning and even more at the end. Between this passes competitors will drive on some fast sectors. Navigation will play the lead role on this stage, where all types of terrain will be represented. Pilots will need to use all the best driving abilities required in rally-raid.
Alxa Youqi – Zhongwei / July 21
Leg distance: 690,31 km
Special distance: 318,66 km
Leg 13. The great cathedrals... of dunes
Last leg with two special stages. Competitors will leave early to face magnificent landscapes and especially to cross cathedrals of dunes in this first stage. The show promises to be great, photographers an cameramen, this is your day! The second special stage also includes a lot of navigation, with some small but very technical sections of dunes. It is a pure pleasure to surf in the way of these dunes, especially on the ridges... this should allow the most adventurous to save a lot of time. This leg should add some pages to the history of the Silk Way Rally history.
Zhongwei – Xi’an / July 22
Leg distance: 716,56 km
Special distance: 100,67 km
Leg 14. The small canyon
This last special of the Silk Way Rally 2017 will be very technical in small canyons. This rather fast special is followed by a long road section (590km) that will lead competitors to the podium in Xi’an. Reduction of road sections. By creating legs with two special stages separated by road sections, the balance is better between road sections and selective sections. 3 legs are concerned. The beauty of the landscapes is even greater than last year, especially on the last stages, so that competitors keep the best memory, in three words: A GREAT VINTAGE
The finish in the ancient capital of thirteen Chinese emperor dynasties will award those that managed to complete more than 9,500 km of marathon distance.