The first round of the 2019 Silk Road Rally started in Irkutsk on the shore of Lake Baikal. The first stage from Irkutsk to Baikalsk has a total length of 255.35 kilometers, of which the special stage is only 50.87 kilometers, which can be regarded as a small “warm-up” for all drivers to start the 9th Silk Road Rally. The day’s stage stretches through the narrow Siberian taiga. Forests, riverbeds and Siberian mountain roads are the first challenges drivers need to face. Although the special stage is not long, the overnight rain before the start of the game caused the stage to be slippery and muddy, which added a lot of difficulty to today’s game.
In the car group, the famous Qatari driver Al-Attiya, who was determined to create the best stage results, lived up to his reputation. He started to lead at the 25-kilometer special stage and continued his advantage until the end, and finally led the French driver by 2 minutes and 32 seconds. Pricht won the first stage. Another famous driver from the Middle East, Alaji, ranked third with a time of 3 minutes and 09 seconds. Due to the limited length of the stage, the drivers of the car group were unable to show their strengths, and the results list of the first stage did not widen the gap too much.
The biggest highlight of the first stage was undoubtedly the Chinese Legion. They played well in the game of the day and achieved a good start. Among the top 10 in the car group, Chinese drivers such as Wang Xiang, Zi Yungang, Zhang Ming, Niu Banding and Zi Rong accounted for half of the country. Among them, Wang Xiang and Zi Yungang ranked 4th and 5th in the car group with a gap of 3 minutes 27 seconds and 4 minutes 19 seconds respectively. The driver Wang Xiang, who won the T1.3 group championship of the FIA Intercontinental World Cup, said after the race: “The track in the first stage is very slippery, which will test the driver’s driving skills. For drivers who are good at gravel roads, today’s I will be more confident in the stage. Today I ran very smoothly. The only regret is that overtaking is very difficult in the stage. The car in front of me overturned due to overtaking. Therefore, we must be patient and patient, after all, the race has just started In the beginning, it is more important to play steadily and patiently.”
In the motorcycle group, the Benavidez brothers from Argentina are the well-deserved stars of this stage. Kevin Benavidez from the Honda team ranked first in the stage, Luciano Benavidez from the Red Bull KTM team was second in the stage with a gap of 36 seconds, and French driver Sand from the Yamaha team Weir was third. Kevin Benavid said in an interview after the race: “I am very excited to get the first place! In fact, I have participated in motorcycle endurance races many times, so I am well prepared for the difficult road conditions. The race has just started At the beginning, I will stay focused and do my best in the future competitions! What makes me even more happy about the championship in the competition is that both of our brothers have achieved satisfactory results!”
In the truck group, the first stage championship was won by Manz team driver Viazovich, and Kamaz team driver Sibalov, who drove the No. 303 truck, ranked second with a slight gap of 56 seconds. In third place was Wischnowski driving the No. 307 Manz truck.
Distance: 413.63 km
Special stage: 212.02 km
20% rocky roads, 80% gravel roads
The second stage from Baikalsk to Ulan-Ude will usher in a rocky section – climbing up the mountain road and then going down the mountain is not a small challenge for the tires. Direction, rhythm and speed all go hand in hand. The drivers will face varied terrain in the second stage: mountains, coniferous forests and several bridges over the river. Fast and correct navigation is essential in the Siberian mountains. Find the right route, attack at full speed, and rush towards the finish line in the highland grassland!