Commencing two months earlier than the two previous editions, the Silk Way Rally will be covering new ground this year. The race, which will take place between 9th and 16th July, is situated half-way between two editions of the Dakar. This new position, which will ensure sunshine and heat for the competitors, more importantly sees the Silk Way Rally become the major event of the middle of the rally-raid season.
For the 2011 edition, the drivers and crews will head from Moscow to Sochi, with a considerable part of the race in the Kalmykia Desert. The route, 70% of which is new this year, will give pride of place to desert terrain and to navigation. It is perhaps in the Kalmykian dunes that the title will be won. In any case, it will be the objective of the discipline’s most prestigious pretenders: the last three winners of the Dakar are also regulars on the Silk Way Rally podium! During his visit to the bivouac at Maykop last year, the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin paid tribute to the presence in his country of the world’s best drivers.
Those of them who have not already taken part now have the chance to position themselves, just like the amateurs who want to test themselves on a “Dakar Series” event. The enrolment period starts today, with a preferential rate of € 1,500 for all those who send their enrolment application before 1st May. Since the Russian government and the rally’s partners wish to help the drivers who are having difficulties raising a budget, a bonus is guaranteed for the crews that cross the finishing line in Sochi. Each of them will receive a minimum of 5,000 dollars (though this is not in conjunction with the bonus prizes awarded for the various finishing positions).
Carlos Sainz, two times winner of the SWR: “It’s an important rally which has always helped me prepare for the Dakar. Lucas (Cruz) and I are very proud to be two times winners and unbeaten on the event. It’s the proof that we are doing a good job. We always want to come and defend a title like this”.
Stephane Peterhansel, three times winner of the Dakar in the car category: “I’m always motivated by new destinations. I’ve seen the images from previous years and I’d be very interested in discovering this race. There could be an exciting battle if we came along to challenge the Volkswagens”.
Frédéric Chavigny, 1st T2 diesel on the Dakar and 6th on the SWR in 2010: “For me, the Silk Way Rally is the little brother of the Dakar. As an amateur, it’s a brilliant springboard for preparing the Dakar: there are a lot of similarities, but the format is shorter and it is a physically a bit easier. That said, this year we’ll be confronted with high temperatures in July”.
15/02 to 01/05: enrolment period at a preferential rate (€ 1,500).
15/06: closure of enrolment.
08/07: technical and administrative scrutineering for Russian competitors in Moscow.
09/07: End of scrutineering and team presentation ceremony in Red Square.
10/07 to 16/07: seven days of racing, with seven special stages over 4,000 kilometres in total.
16/07: end of the race and official prize ceremony at the Krasnaya Polyana Winter Olympics site.