Alexander Rusanov (GAZ Raid Sport), “At this stage there was the only place where it was written “possibly muddy” – I drove right there, accomplished it with credit. Possibly, it was due to my inattention. Many thanks to our guys for stopping by, and to Vitaly Murylev in MAZ, who pulled us. Thanks to them we are at the finish line, otherwise we would have had problems. Nine days of the Silk Way Rally will be remembered as vivid and extraordinary adventure. There was everything – both joy and sadness, but we finished the rally on a high note. By my calculations, we are sixth overall without trucks, second in the class – this is my best achievement.”
Alexey Ignatov (GAZ Raid Sport), “Today everything is fine. The stage is called “What is the Silk Way Rally without dirt?”. At least on the last day, at least a little bit, but the rain moistened the track, it became slippery, it became fun. The rivers have been unexpectedly deep today. Silk Way Rally tests the team for strength and endurance, and checks the crew. Finally, we reached the finish line and are pleased with the result. We had small mistakes during the rally, but in general we spent it very well. It’s difficult to find a pace that will allow you to go fast, but at the same time keep your vehicle, save your strength for the next day. The Silk Way Rally is a significant event for us, an indicator of the work of the crew and the entire team. What have we been able to change, to improve in a season, in a year? Because we try out some new solutions at the stages of the Russian Rally-Raid Championship, make structural changes to the vehicle, and the Silk Way Rally confirms whether we are on the right way or not. I think, we’re on right way.”
Hou Hongning (One Belt One Road), “I’ve been in Russia for more than ten days, and I can finally rest, I feel very tired. I’m very happy and grateful to everyone for the fact that I managed to achieve the goal and complete the task from Vladimir Chagin – to reach the finish line. Now I can really thank those people who gave me this opportunity. If KAMAZ-Master Team and the Silk Way Rally give me this opportunity once again, I will definitely return. And if the rally returns to China, it will be just magnificent. Every day of the rally we saw a lot of fans who follow the event and support the competitors. Everyone is very friendly and hospitable. We were very pleased.”
Sergey Kupriyanov (KAMAZ-Master), “The final chord was very good. It was very slippery, we drove with a large margin – Murylev overtook us and literally after a few kilometers he needed help. We stopped, pulled him out – he fell off a pipe in a ravine – and drove on with a sense of accomplishment. There is not much water, but the surface is slippery, especially on grass. But in any case, the Silk Way Rally is a big, well-done job. We don’t stand still, the rally never ends for you personally.”
Dmitry Mordkovich (Team Maria Oparina), “I pushed hard and couldn’t see anything. We drove fast, punctured the second wheel, hit a stone – we miraculously reached the finish line. It’s very slippery on the grass in the rain, there are such dangerous roads that you can easily roll over and lose everything. But we had nothing to lose, we lost everything on the first day.”
Sergey Karyakin (Snag Racing), “I’m happy to be here at the finish line. If nothing changes, we are the winners. Many thanks to the Organizers for making it possible. In terms of organizing the rally, everything was perfect. They chose a very difficult task for themselves – to conduct a rally-raid in the central part of Russia. In general, the whole route was extremely interesting with cool selective sections. Many thanks to the sponsors that support these events, thanks to our sponsors for helping us win and achieve good results. Victory is always the sum of factors.”
Andrey Rudskoy (NG-Energo), “Yesterday we drove 67 kilometers without a generator, it started to smoke, it shorted out. So we reached the highway, and the car died there. That is, yesterday we finished by some miracle. Today, thanks to mechanization, to our engineers – they prepared the car perfectly. Today there were four deep fords, right up to the headlight – it was even torn off. It was very uncomfortable, the car began to “choke”. Now emotions are overwhelming, apparently, we have become winners in the Car standings. Another 300 kilometers of liaison, podium, and congratulations are ahead.”
Roman Rusinov (G-Drive Racing), “There were fords where SSVs were in the water completely. At one point I thought that the vehicle would not leave it at all. It was very slippery, we overtook and let go – at the last 20 kilometers there was a very close competition with Cherkesov. I’m happy with the successful finish. 5.5 thousand kilometers are behind – it’s a super rally, everything is very cool. There were sands, forests, fields, mountains – a very cool organization, I have very positive impressions. We need to work on navigation, on driving. We drove carefully enough to save the vehicle – it was possible to accelerate a little bit. This is my first rally, we finished well. It’s a very positive experience.”
Dmitry Sotnikov (KAMAZ-Master), “We started behind Vyazovich, Andrey Karginov was ahead. At first it seemed to be dry and everything was fine, but after one ford we saw that Karginov was standing, stood with him, helped him changing the wheel – it was hard, we couldn’t lift the truck for a long time because it was very wet and dirty. We did it in 7-8 minutes, but we understood that we were wasting time. Then it began to rain, it became dirty, but at the same time dusty – strange weather. It was very slippery, but we just needed to get to the finish line. It was such a tricky short selective section that could change the entire table at the end of the rally. We are a little bit tired, we really want to sleep and rest. We will do an analysis and make the right conclusions, and we will be even stronger at the next competitions.”
Eduard Nikolaev (KAMAZ-Master), “This is the long-awaited finish of the rally! It turned out to be great and interesting. Thanks to the Organizers for finding an opportunity to arrange this international competition in our difficult time. The route was very interesting, challenging, there were navigation, and bumps, and pits, and punctures. Upon arrival home, we will undertake a thorough analysis of vehicle, driving, and navigation. In general, everyone is safe and sound – this is the main thing!”
Sergey Vyazovich (MAZ-SPORTauto), “We are very happy to be here at the finish line. It’s a long way for us that lasted 13 years. For the first time MAZ took part in the Silk Way Rally in 2010, and today we have finally become the winners of this most difficult event in the most difficult weather conditions – it has started to rain. As always, we chose unconventional tactics and pushed hard on a slippery road. We have excellent grip, the tires work great, we didn’t slip anywhere, we didn’t make a mistake, we quickly caught up with Andrey Karginov at the 40th kilometer, passed him and kept a good pace until the very finish. I’m very grateful to my co-driver for the entire rally – he didn’t make any mistakes in navigation. This year tires brought us to the first place. I’m grateful for the oils provided by G-Energy, which worked throughout the rally together with the mobile laboratory, and, of course, to the Minsk Automobile Plant and all factory workers – I know how much they support and worry about us. We gave them great pleasure, MAZ turned out to be the fastest car in this rally and one of the fastest in the world. Representing the Republic of Belarus here is a great honor for us.”
There was a ford at the distance of today’s selective section, which is obligatory for trucks to pass. Other categories could go around it, but Andrey Novikov’s crew decided to please the audience with a spectacular overcoming.
This is how Novikov’s crew looked at the finish line.
Tatyana Sycheva (Xesha Motor Sport), “The stage went well. Yesterday, our gear unit broke down at the 60th kilometer of the second selective section, so we had to return to the bivouac in a technical vehicle. Today we’ve driven slow in the sands, but in general everything is fine. It’s great there are many spectators on the track. Apparently, people know about the rally and are interested — it’s very supportive.”
Alexander Rusanov (GAZ Raid Sport), “It was a very busy and exhausting track in terms of diversity. In the sands the car was driving very hard, it overheated, there were bumps and speedy sections, the pits were large. It was necessary to keep the concentration, but it came to an and after 200-220 kilometers. Then we decided to slow down and finished carefully. In fact, it was a very good selective section, it reveals the weaknesses of both cars and people. That’s how it should be.”
Anastasia Nifontova (G-Drive Racing), “Today has been a busy day. These 314 kilometers kept me on the edge all the way. At the beginning there was sand, and we decided to experiment — to drive Archeda using big wheels. These tires are more grippy, it was hard for the vehicle, but the test drive is passed. Then it was easier. Therefore, we drove the sands sadly, at a speed of 50 kph, and after refueling we drove into the fields and it was more fun. There was some kind of crazy navigation at the final part – I don’t know how Ekaterina Zhadanova figured it out. In one place we got lost a little bit, but then we found the way and finished.”
Sergey Karyakin (Snag Racing), “We’ve passed the selective section, and everything is fine. It was cool to drive across the sands. At the final part we ran out of washer liquid and drove off the top of our heads, because the selective section is familiar. Tomorrow we will calmly drive to the finish line – this is our task.”
Roman Rusinov (G-Drive Racing), “It was a difficult special stage, in addition our mechanics didn’t make the right washer fluid, and we ran out of water, so we drove the last 60 kilometers without seeing anything and in the dust of KAMAZ and Karyakin. As a result we punctured the wheel and drove 20 kilometers to the finish line on a flat tire. But we arrived, everything is fine. Until the moment the wheel was punctured, the car steered very well, but there was no point in changing it.”
Dmitry Mordkovich (Team Maria Oparina), “The selective section was tough. There are sands at first, but it’s good for us. And then there are hard, winding, overgrown roads – they are not visible. Where does this road go? And you have to go fast! Several times we were on the verge of rolling.”
Eduard Nikolaev (KAMAZ-Master), “The beginning of the day was very slippery. You see there are no puddles, but it’s very slippery. The crew got out of a car safe and sound. We didn’t manage to win back from Vyazovich, he was the first at the finish line. I was too cautious – it was very slippery, it was hard to drive first. But you leave some good steps after your truck, so it’s easier for the second and third to drive.”
The T3 crews reached the finish line of the eighth selective section, and according to the online monitoring system, the best time was set by Dmitry Mordkovich.
Sergey Karyakin is on the second line, he won seven minutes back from Roman Rusinov, his main pursuer in the overall standings.
T3 at SS8 finish:
1. Mordkovich – 3:38:16.
2. Karyakin +8:59.
3. Nifontova +9:28.
4. A. Cherkesov +15:17.
5. D. Cherkesov +15:41.
6. Rusinov +16:10.
Dmitry Sotnikov (KAMAZ-Master), “I remember the selective section from last year, it is very interesting. I liked the first part. We drove to the Archeda Sands, it was bumpy, the truck worked well – I just liked to drive. Today we tried to go together with Andrey Karginov to make it more reliable. At the neutralization zone we seemed to have met, everything went according to plan, and in the end he disappeared. But there was a winding overgrown road in places – it was hard for the first crew. We tried to hit the road clearly and carefully passed a deep ford. There was a slippery part, but quite safe – in the fields, we drove through it also carefully.”
Sergey Vyazovich (MAZ-SPORTauto), “Today’s selective section seems to be quite simple, but it was complicated by the fact that wet black soil began, and it became slippery at the second part after the neutralization zone. It was not the best place for the guys to catch up with us – we understood it, so we drove very carefully. At one “30 Zone” we caught up with Eduard Nikolaev, but his pace was not very high, maybe there were some problems. For a long time we thought, to overtake – not to overtake, because it was convenient for us to follow him, but 30 kilometers before the finish line we still did it. And we arrived safely. We have a comfortable advantage – almost 11 minutes ahead of Andrey Karginov and 13 minutes ahead of Eduard Nikolaev, and in my opinion, we won back three more minutes. Tomorrow we will try to pass the selective section in the same reliable way.”
Trucks are at SS8 finish, and Dmitry Sotnikov set the best time. Karginov scored the second result, losing to his KAMAZ-Master teammate, but ahead of Sergey Vyazovich by 48 seconds.
Trucks at SS8 finish:
1. Sotnikov (KAMAZ) – 3:38:24.
2. Karginov (KAMAZ) +1:30.
3. Vyazovich (MAZ) +2:18.
4. Nikolaev (KAMAZ) +5:42.
According to the audience from the track, car standings leader Vladimir Vasilyev stopped to troubleshoot.
Rudskoy has already reached the WP8.2, but Vasilyev is not there…
According to spectators from the track, Oleg Pavlenko, the G-Moto Challenge leader, is standing still. His motorcycle is damaged.