With over 1,000 kilometres of timed racing completed we’re now in the thick of the action at the 2018 Silk Way Rally. In the opening three stages we’ve seen title challenges emerge and fall away, only to reappear again! As we approach the midway point on the road to Moscow’s Red Square there’s still everything to play for at this Eurasian offroad odyssey.
Coming out of the marathon stage unscathed in the truck race was defending champion Dmitry Sotnikov of Team Kamaz Master. The rules of the marathon stage dictate that the race crews can receive no outside mechanical help overnight so must rely on their own knowhow to fix any problems that might occur.
Sotnikov and his crew proved themselves adept at maintaining their machine and hold top spot after winning two of the opening three stages. They are joined in the overall podium places by their Russian team-mates Ayrat Mardeev and Andrey Karginov.
« Stage two was a fast special stage but we always had in our mind that there wouldn’t be mechanics that day so we had to keep the workload to a minimum. » – Andrey Karginov
It was not such plain sailing for Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar and his French co-driver Mathieu Baumel in the car category. The duo’s Toyota Hilux ran into problems on stage two as it lost its four-wheel capability.
Having to complete most of stage two and all 140 kilometres of stage three with just front-wheel drive has taken its toll on the pair’s chances of success. The marathon stage could not have come at a worse time for these two and their Hilux.
« We had a problem with the rear differential. This meant that after about 100 kilometres of stage two and for all of stage three we had just front-wheel drive. » – Nasser Al-Attiyah
Nasser and Mathieu now stand third overall, nearly an hour behind new race leader Harry Hunt of Great Britain. Yazeed Al-Rajhi of Saudi Arabia is second overall, 20 minutes behind Hunt.
It’s back out into the dunes on Tuesday for stage four of the 2018 Silk Way Rally. With the drama being served up thick and fast we can’t wait to see what happens next at the rally.
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Car results after stage three – Top 3
1. Harry Hunt (GBR) Peugeot
2. Yazeed Al-Rahji (SAU) – MINI, +00:20:50
3. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) – Toyota, +00:56:10…
Truck results after stage three – Top 3
1. Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) – Kamaz
2. Ayrat Mardeev (RUS) – Kamaz, +00:26:31
3. Andrey Karginov (RUS) – Kamaz, +00:35:03…
Nasser Al-Attiyah: « It’s really unfortunate that we got a problem like we did on the marathon stage. We had a problem with the rear differential. This meant that after about 100 kilometres of stage two and for all of stage three we had just front-wheel drive. We could not really do anything with it overnight because we were in a marathon stage. We will try and do our best to recover from this setback. »
Andrey Karginov: « Marathon stages always present a special kind of difficulty. Stage two was a fast special stage but we always had in our mind that there wouldn’t be mechanics that day so we had to keep the workload to a minimum. If we had suffered a big problem then we might not have been able to cope with it ourselves. Therefore we tried to drive fast, but without too much risk. »