SS7 : The Gordon Family in the 2024 Taklimakan Rally

Hotan – Aksu: 589,73km – Liaison: 209.16km – SS: 122,98 km – Liaison: 257,59km

A strong sandstorm hit the Hotan region on May 27 during the SS6 of the 2024 Taklimakan Rally. According to the decision of the organizing committee and for the security of all the participants, the organizing committee activated the emergency plan and cancelled the SS6 stage. After the SS6 and the second rest day, the competitors are fresh with energy and are ready for the SS7, the stage which lead the bivouac transfer from Hotan to Aksu.

Stage 7 lines to the north with the special stage goes along the highway. This stage is designed to help the drivers to get ready for the competition rhythm so it is not that difficult. For the competitors who are in the leading place, it is crucial not to suffer from the mechanical failures, since this is not a stage to widen the gaps.

In the auto category, American driver Robby Gordon came this year for the Taklimakan Rally with his son, Max Gordon. This is the first time for this father and son group to set foot together on the Taklimakan track. By far, they are quite satisfied with the rally as well as with their performance.

According to Robby Gordon: « Today is the high-speed stage and I quite good in this type of stage. I am quite satisfied with my performance. I like Xinjiang, I plan to come next year, not in the UTV group, but in the T1 group! » For Max Gordon, his is quite excited with his debut in FIA recognized event, « I think the first stage is the most difficult, today is ok. I missed a point in the 99km so I had to go back to get the point checked. I am quite adapted with the rally and had a good cooperation with my co-driver. » Max Gordon had visited Xinjiang 5 years ago and he also hope to come back again next year for this rally.

Han Wei, who now leads the rally in the auto category continues his stable performance: « The stage for today is not difficult, the only thing we pay attention is the speed, not too fast to neglect the pits hidden in the vegetated dunes. The car in front of me got stuck in between so I paid special attention to that. Tomorrow we will start the real rally stage and I hope all the competitors could finish the stage safe and sound. »

In the moto category, Deng Liansong in his No. 002 moto is the first to arrive the finish line, 3 minutes before his teammate Neels Theric, who continues to dominate the race with his superb performance. « I already had a general idea of today’s stage after studying the roadbook last night. I wasted some time in one point due to the equipment malfunction, and I am quite satisfied today. In France, my routine training is in such kind of high-speed stage, so I am quite familiar with this road type, even better than in the dunes. The dunes are really my weak point. » Now in the general classification, Neels leads the rally by 2 and a half hours and had already locked the championship in advance.

Tomorrow, the 2024 Taklimakan Rally will enter stage 8, the second stage in Aksu with stage length of 532km and special stage of 219km

Classification Auto SS7
1. Wang Shilin (CHN) / Tian Lei (CHN), JJ Race, 1H12’12
2. Lu Binglong (CHN) / Gao Zhenwei (CHN), JJ Race, +0’13
3. Tao Yongming (CHN) / Shen Xin (CHN), JJ Race, +0’54…
Overall Classification Auto after SS7 is yet to come

Classification Moto SS7
1. Deng Liansong (CHN), KOVE, 1H28’47
2. Ayoub Maweixiao (CHN), KTM, +1’28
3. P. MURUN (MGL), KTM, +2’32…

Overall Classification Moto after SS7
1. Neels Theric (FRA), KOVE, 20H22’14
2. Abbas Gapal (CHN), YAMAHA, +2H35’14
3. Guan Qige Surong (CHN), KTM, +3H19’14…