The 2024 Taklimakan Rally Kicks off in Kashgar, Xinjiang

The grand opening ceremony of 2024 Taklimakan rally was organized on May 20 in the bivouac of Kashgar, Xinjiang. The rally competitors and fans from home and abroad gathered to celebrate the 20th birthday of this Rally.

After three days of administrative and technical scrutineering, the 110 vehicles and 200 competitors from 50 teams have mounted to the stage one by one, receiving the cheers and the applauses from the audiences. They are ready to take the tough challenges of the coming 10 stages.

As the only long-distance international off-road rally in China, the 2024 Taklimakan Rally joined the FIA calendar this year. The rally will pass through Kashgar, Hotan, Aksu, Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous region and other districts, with a total stage of 4,377 kilometers and the special stages of 2,162 kilometers. Desert accounts for 70% while Gobi, mountain, river valley accounts for 30% of the special stage.

« For consecutive years, the Taklimakan Rally has been rated as China’s Top Ten Sports Tourism Events by the State General Administration of Sport. The rally plays a positive role in promoting Xinjiang’s superior and unique sports tourism resources. » The Rally enjoys a high reputation in China and abroad, and has developed into the model event to showcase the joint development of ‘sports + cultural tourism’ in China, according to the officer from Xinjiang tourism bureau.

After the opening ceremony, the competitors experienced the SSS which allows the competitors to warm up and better prepare for the coming special stages. In the auto category, Han Wei, who keeps the best record of Chinese pilots in international rally race and has withdrawn last year due to the mechanical failure, has gained his first victory. Robby Gordon, the American pilot set foot for the first time in the Taklimakan Rally, finished the 33 place. During the interview, he mentioned: « My goal is to finish the rally. This is the first time for my co-pilot to be in the rally, so she could barely follow my rhythm. We will do better with time. »

In the moto category, Ayoub in his from GUYUE Rally team took the super short stage in his KTM, followed by Deng Liansong and Neels Theric in KOVE. Neels Theric, the 26-year-old French rider who finished fourth in his debut at last year’s rally, is regarded by the team as a top contender following his experience at the Dakar Rally earlier this year.

Provisional Classification Auto SSS / Overall Classification
1. Han Wei (CHN) / Ma Li (CHN) Red-line, 11’11
2. Ma Yuan (CHN) / Tian Yu (CHN), EV03, +0’3
3. Ma Hailong (CHN) / Liu Yuan (CHN), EV03, +0’5

Provisional Classification Moto SSS / Overall Classification
1. Ayoub (CHN), KTM, 13’21
2. Deng Liansong (CHN), KOVE, +0’21
3. Neels Theric (FRA), KOVE, +0’22