Evgeny Sukhovenko (No. 204), It’s a great day, I wish there were more of them. We could steer, drove along the fords and trees, there were various landscapes, we drove up and down. Before that we had mostly steppe races – it was boring. And today is really cool. The only thing: on the last day I wanted to drive actively, but we were hindered by the buggy that was driving in front of us and kicking up the dust for half a special stage. But everything is fine, in the ford the water was outside, the water was inside – it’s cool. We liked it in general, we are glad that we lived these 10 days and now it remains to get to Luzhniki.
Alexander Rusanov (No. 205), I liked the route. At first the organizers tried to kill us at the hard steppe, but then the tracks were fast, steering – that’s what we need. We’ve got great pleasure from the long distance, from the whole event. We are at the finish line, we have collected all the points, we have no penalties. But it could be better, we are maximalists, there is always something to work on.
Alexey Khlebov (No. 306), Today, finally, there was just an amazing special stage. It was fast, I wanted it to be even faster, but the thirst for the finish prevailed, so we held ourselves back, we wanted to drive to the podium. Of course, fatigue makes itself felt. We drove in courses today, often changed, there was where to think, where to get lost, where to steer, and all this at a crazy pace, at speed. There were four fords: low, but muddy, the car was driving hard. But still there’s a lot of feelings! I’m very happy, satisfied that we are here. We brought a good result to the finish line as a team, in the overall standings, and there’s the 4th place among trucks, I think.
Dmitry Voronov (No. 231), It was a real challenge! The race is great, feelings are running high. When you are at the finish line, you understand that you have done all this work, and the car has done it, as well as the co-driver. The last five days the car behaved perfectly, we just drove well. It only showed its stubbornness at first, and then everything was ok. We will drive it again to the rally, and more than once. We need to expand and compete as a team. Therefore, expect the LADA Sport ROSNEFT team. Well, these are my dreams, the management will take a decision. It would be even more beautiful.
Andrey Karginov (No. 303), Every year the organizers try to diversify the route and make it more difficult. By each stage, by unplanned finishes, everyone can understand that the Silk Way Rally is challenging. We saw all the variety of tracks, Russian off-road, at the end there were mud special stages. At one time foreign competitors said that it was better to travel the entire Dakar than to visit the Astrakhan region. Thank you for being able to take part in competitions in such a difficult time, for organizing such events. We are glad that everyone is well and reached the finish line without any accidents. We were happy to communicate with newcomers, share our experience with them, because at one time the KAMAZ-master team was also inexperienced and was interested in everything, people helped us. We are trying to do our best to have as many competitors as possible in cross-country rallies. I’m glad people like it.
Eduard Nikolaev: I still can’t believe that the race is over. Tomorrow we start again, but this time – towards home. It’s hard to add anything. The race was very cool. I would like to thank the organizers for finding the opportunity and managing to hold this rally in such a difficult time. There was a very cool, interesting, rich route, very informative both technically and personally. Therefore, we are glad that everything worked out, that all the guys are at the finish line. At home we will draw conclusions. Most of all I liked yesterday’s special stage, especially its first part – Archeda Sands. There were many fords today, about 7, but not as deep as yesterday. Our brakes overheated a little bit – there was a fast special stage and active braking. These fords helped us to cool them. At home I will go fishing first (laughing). Many competitors liked the race, there will be good reviews. There’s a wish to the organizers and a big request: find an opportunity by any means and organize the next Silk Way Rally.
Sergey Karyakin (No. 207), There were 10 days, everything is fine, we are very pleased with the result. The tasks set were achieved, we can say that we are leaving with a sense of accomplishment. Now we need to pass the ceremonial arch and go home. The last section was the most stressful. Unfortunately, Sergey Kupriyanov did not let us pass, it’s very disappointing. But it’s okay. I’m very glad. It was dangerous in the fords today, but we did everything right. I really liked Chechnya: it’s hot, there are interesting paths. Many thanks to the organizers for such a pleasant sports event. And Nikita [Mazepin] is a good fellow, 100 out of 100, he won the first cross-country rally in his life.
Armen Puzyan (No. 209), Thanks to the organizers for making the last day more or less bearable. But here the grass is very slippery, and fields cannot be cut. But we saw a couple of traces – someone violated the rules. Then I saw someone went off the track – Vasilyev, who “caught” the tree, was standing at the very beginning. At the last stage! It’s very sad! In general, we’ve got great experience, we’re very satisfied. We now have an intrigue in seconds or minutes with Sergey Karyakin.
Sergey Kupriyanov (No. 305), We are at the finish line, everything is fine. We feel a sense of accomplishment, it’s always a great pleasure. And today, on the last day, we also helped Vladimir Vasilyev, we put him on wheels. He missed the turn. But in general, everything is fine.
Anastasia Nifontova (No. 208), Everyone has a radiator in the back, and we have it in the front. It clogged with grass, overheated, had to stop and clean it. Navigation was very challenging today. Many thanks to the organizers for such a cool track. The race was very difficult. Today we drove second, there was a KAMAZ in front of us, we drove around it, they also strayed there. We saw Vasilyev, whose car was lying upside down in a ditch, but the guys seemed to be fine. There are practically no traces, the grass is waist-deep, you drive, but you don’t know where. But Ekaterina [Zhadanova] has coped perfectly today. In one place we missed the road, it was my fault. In some places it was very slippery: grass with clay, especially in the shade.
Nikita Mazepin (No. 215), We spent over 30 hours behind the wheel, if I’m not mistaken. There’s a completely different approach to marathons. If you look at our first three days, we had so many problems that it would have been possible to finish in my last class and not leave the pits. Teamwork is very important here. If earlier I was sitting in the car alone and was responsible for everything, then here in many cases it was more important how the co-driver would work. For example, today we would never be able to overtake KAMAZ in terms of speed, but thanks to Anton [Vlasyuk], we were not lost, where our rivals were lost. It’s a special pleasure, I really liked it, I hope to continue my performance in the rally. You can develop a championship in yourself. A lot depends on the amount of training, you need to achieve everything with your own work. Today’s stage was very difficult, I was worried, we drove four fords, very deep for the buggy. The windows went under water. I really liked Mongolia, oh, sorry, Kalmykia. I would like to drive to Mongolia. And I really liked Astrakhan. It turned out to be very difficult, we were preparing for this. We were able to pass this leg, not loosing the wheels there.
Dmitry Sotnikov (No. 300), I would like to say that the victory is the work of the entire crew, and it was at the highest level. Everyone got it during this race – both the mechanics and the co-driver. I’m very glad. Sometimes the mechanics worked until the morning. At the second stage the cardan broke off, we stood still in the sand, and I thought, well, that’s it, we’ll get to the finish line, but at that moment something changed and somehow we managed quite quickly. We felt that we could fight and the race was very hard, because the gaps were from 10 to 15 minutes every day and we understood that we just needed to finish. An endurance race for both people and trucks. Today, at the very beginning, the navigation was very challenging. It was impossible to get into any road, we were “walking” there, 5 km/h, and even Anastasia Nifontova drove around us and for some time we followed her. Then somewhere we changed positions. The grass is very tall, there are thickets, we had to wade through them. We tried just to keep on the road, because it was worse to return later. We are lucky enough to win the overall standings, but there were some breakdowns of the leaders. We are very happy about it and the race that took place. This is a big step for us in preparation for the next competition, I think everyone got a great experience. This is useful for our further development.
Denis Krotov (No. 202), There was more than two minutes gap with Vasilyev. We understood that today would be a short and incomprehensible day. In the morning we started in a good mood, we decided that we would go as we go. Come what may! We drove safely, as usual, taking care of the car. At the very beginning some kilometer was very slippery. We also lost the track on slippery grass, and I saw the car and Vladimir [Vasilyev] was standing. We stopped, I showed him “fine”, he replied that it was good, and we drove on. So everything is fine, Konstantin [Zhiltsov] was not mistaken today, as always. The fight was interesting until the very end, the feelings are very pleasant. We won the Silk Way Rally for the first time, thank you very much!
The car of Vladimir Vasilyev (No. 201) stopped at the track. The reasons are specified.
Last night the MAZ-SPORTauto team brought Aleksey Vishnevsky’s truck from the track to the bivouac, and this morning they took it away…
Good morning, everyone! We are starting a live text broadcast of the tenth (final) special stage of the 12th edition of the Silk Way Rally. Today the competitors tackle a stage along Lipetsk – Moscow route with a total distance of 513 km and competitive distance of 118 km. The leaders are at the special stage track.
Dmitry Voronov (No. 231), I really liked the special stage, because it was so different! There were sands, and sandy paths, and fields, and forest paths. There was no feeling like, “Oh, here’s the finish line, I’m tired of everything, because everything is the same”. I like it, it remembers me of a classic rally. We overtook 4 or 5 cars, I think, we won in our class, so the feelings are only positive both from the Niva, and from the co-driver and all the innovations that are in the car. The radiator was slightly clogged with grass in the fields. We drove around the Archeda sands, because it’s faster not to follow the footprints in the sand, but drive along the dunes. We took all the points, we just didn’t drive in the tracks of the opponents, because they can follow the tracks quickly, but we need clean sand. There were bushes, so we “swallowed” them all into the radiator. But we cleaned everything up.
Alexey Vishnevsky (No. 304), Everything turned out to be sad for us. I didn’t expect the ford to be so deep and full of holes. I actually saw you [photographer Dmitry Galchun], how deep you were sitting. I was just worried about stalling in this ford, so at the entrance to the ford I just pressed the pedal and fell into it. And since we have an air filter here in front under the hood, the whole wave just went into the filter and the engine scooped up water so much that now it doesn’t scroll. We had technical problems since the very morning. Some teeth on the gears were chipped off and the engine was running loudly. We were actually worried that everything would fall apart and we wouldn’t be able to finish. The engine couldn’t stand it because of the water and that’s it. That is, it’s exactly retirement…
Mikhail Shklyaev (No. 307), Today we are not very lucky. The power steering broke down, the last 100 km I drove only with my hands, it’s awful. But in general it’s ok. We drove into the ford, it was great. People there were very delighted. MAZes were standing in the ford.
Comments can only spoil this picture.
Aleksey Khlebov (No. 306), The ford was the most interesting, but the most useless element at today’s special stage. I don’t know why it’s needed at all. When we swam into it, the horizon wasn’t visible through the windshield – we just drove under water and I didn’t understand whether we would swim out of there or not. When we left it, our windshield cracked due to the temperature difference. And today is not our day, not our path at all. The first section was in the Archeda sands, I like them very much. But it was impossible to get pleasure, as our tire inflation system failed. We drove very slowly. Then the hummock began – all my fingers were beaten off. We tried to finish, feeling bad. If to speak about navigation, we ran into a jump in front of a ravine once, it wasn’t described in the Road Book. Perhaps we have damage after that. We took all points, but unmarked dangers are fatal for us.
Evgeny Sukhovenko (№204), There was a sandbox wetted by rain. On the one hand, it’s good that it’s not tight, on the other hand, it was very difficult for the car to drive there, it overheated. Then we left the sands and a sandy-earthy heavy and very viscous road began. Trucks added to our “pleasant” impressions, because we clung to the rut with the axle, but we overcame it. I think, the car began to slip because of this, and we were forced to turn off the four-wheel drive and drove from the 120th km to the finish line on the rear wheel drive, pressing the pedal gently. Then we lay on our right side, because the car stops rather poorly with the all-wheel drive turned off, only the rear wheels slow down. Since SSVs are useless for us in this regard, we had to wait for Shklyaev. We spent half an hour. We were stood up, then we couldn’t start, there was something with the starter. We waited for the Niva, it pulled us and we drove off. It was a busy day! Otherwise, everything is fine, we continue our exciting journey, the car is intact.
Aleksey Mun, Kirill Chernenkov’s co-driver (No. 216): It’s the second wheel change, the first one was in the sands. We jumped somewhere on the dune, touched sideways, replaced it. We raced well. There are beautiful views: fields, trees, the weather is cool. It’s fine, we liked it.
Evgeny Frezorger (№219), Today we have good weather, it’s not hot. There are sands of Archeda with gorgeous paths. I’ll be honest: after Kalmykia, it pleases the eye. The nature is beautiful, you even have time to see something along the way: someone breaks down, someone catches up. There is dust, but the day is beautiful. Yesterday it was difficult, we rolled over, restored the car overnight and got there. Now we’ll go to the bivouac in a technical vehicle.
Alexandr Goloushkin, driver (No. 240), Everything was fine – Archeda sands, steering. And then all these fields started: straight-left, straight-left. We hit the front wheel somewhere and damaged the crutch. But everything is fine, we are at the finish line. The co-driver is well done, we didn’t get lost and drove with pleasure.
Pavel Rusinov, co-driver (No. 240),I always look at the Road Book. I liked everything, we’ve driven well today. It’s great that the landscape is changing, the grass smells good.
Andrey Karginov (No. 303), There’s a good special stage, fast, winding, challenging. There was a ford in the Road Book, trucks are not allowed to go around. And we dived carefully, even too slowly it seemed to me, it could have been faster… But we barely got out of there! Then we noticed the vibration. We stopped and saw that the fan of the main radiator had had fallen apart. And the radiator was pierced – antifreeze began to flow out. We changed the radiator, healed the “wound” as much as we could. But it still flows. We must go to the bivouac…
Dmitry Mordkovich (No. 218), Today is a great day, the special stage is just perfect! We really liked it. There was much navigational work. I think a lot of crews have problems with navigation today. Well, there was sand. We somehow drove Archeda sands by the edge – for me it’s not enough, it could have been more. There are very hard fast roads. Everything was great. And literally 20 km before the finish line there were problems with a belt. We lost about 5 minutes. This is a lot. Nevertheless, we are satisfied, the task was to maintain our position. We are at the finish line, the position is ours. Everything is great. The car is intact. I’m satisfied.
Nikita Mazepin (No. 215), There’s a very similar soil that reminds us of all the days we had; there was just less soil than today. The day was calm, nothing happened. We had a task to drive with a comfortable pace, not to cut, not to try to win anything back, but to lead the car to the finish line. I’m glad that we coped with it. I like Astrakhan: it is smashing and doesn’t forgive any mistakes. If you miss something from the co-driver, you can damage the car. I really liked the ground in Kalmykia – there were fast sections, it was interesting. For the whole day I didn’t see anyone, except for the only KAMAZ that was standing by the tree on the right. We never got lost, it’s good, well done, Anton [Vlasyuk]. The engine got very hot at the end, but this is ok. There were lots of branches. I really look forward to finishing in Moscow, I was born there.
Armen Puzyan (No. 209), In fact, today we’ve fought with MAZes. At first they were driving together and we passed them. Then at the straights they caught up with us. There’s so much dust after them, it stretches for a couple of kilometers. And then a winding path began, they couldn’t drive quickly there. We were chasing them, in the dust we couldn’t get close to signal with Santinel. And then the organizers sent them across the ford and we had a chance to drive around. And then happiness began, because it was possible to go fast. At some point I understood that the co-driver was tired of talking every second. There was a huge number of forks. This time I had to work for all days. We were happy when we passed the finish line, but overall everything was great. We liked it very much.
Sergey Karyakin (No. 207), Everything is fine. Two MAZes overtook us at the hors piste. We let them through and they were driving in front of us at 60 km/h. There was so much dust. We tried to overtake them twice, even went into the bushes. There were literally 50 meters to them. But then they broke down. We changed the belts, because at the very beginning we had such a killing, very-very soft, viscous sand. It’s ok now. It wasn’t that hot today, it was comfortable. Tomorrow is the last day; usually there’s some kind of emptiness after the race, but if there’s something to do, you feel a little bit better. We are always happy to take part in the Silk Way Rally. Saudi Arabia cannot boast of such a variety of tracks: Chechnya, Astrakhan, Volgograd, sand/dirt/grass. It’s cool!