The organizers have prepared several different routes, but the bivouac will be in one and the same place for all 4 days. Mechanics that stay in the camp throughout the whole race won’t be bored: the place, chosen by the organizers for the bivouac, will impress most of people. The road, laid in the desert, led the team directly to the "Dream Garden" - in the near future it will be an amusement park, and now it is a bivouac of the Chinese rally edition. The scale of the project is impressive: copies of the world’s architectural sights, attractions, animal figures and huge squares ... Now it is a construction site, but still the place for the bivouac “inhabitants” is very attractive.
The first special stage of the race, as on many races, is made to "warm-up". Today was like this. Participants had to overcome 125 kilometers across dried river-beds and dirt roads. Not to waste time and to check similarity of reality to the legend - was the main target of the crews today. All trucks of KAMAZ-master Team successfully finished before sunset and brought only planned works to their mechanics. The positions were taken the following way: Eduard Nikolaev's crew became the first one, Andrey Karginov's crew lost him less than a minute and the Russian-Chinese crew finished 11 minutes behind them. In the standings, our crews took the fifth, tenth and thirty-seventh positions respectively. On tomorrow's start the participants are allocated according to today’s results.
Eduard Nikolaev - pilot of crew No 402:
"The special section was interesting, the roads were winding and steep: it was hard to gather speed because of the rut. At first it was impossible even to use roads to the right and to the left because of stones. Already after the middle, more familiar to us "Astrakhan" sandy road began, where we gained our pace, using skills that we have. We caught up only one jeep and only closer to the end, as we started in half an hour after the car category, and the special stage itself was short and intended more for jeeps. This is good - today we did not suffer from dust. Only closer to the finish we saw Andrey Karginov’s truck, tried to catch it up, but Andrey is a very fast pilot, it's difficult just to roll up. But, nevertheless, we managed to go faster in some moments. "
Andrey Karginov - pilot of crew No 401:
"Today was the first race day, unusual for us in some way. The legend was written by Chinese route developers, completely new to us, and we were cautious: because everyone looks at dangers and obstacles in their own way. We tried to go due to visibility. But in reality the legend coincided with the one we used to see in the Russian part of “Silk Way Rally”, in Africa and Dakar. The route itself was similar to the Astrakhan special section - sandy roads, many potholes, pits ... and many stones. In Russia, there are no such routes - these are dried river-beds with boulders where you can cut, and that what we did. We really liked the track, we never stopped: we drove in a reliable, rolling way. On this truck I have a second competition, the first time it is in stones with a lot of steering. And it became clear that there is something to work on - we will further improve our truck."
Dmitry Svistunov - mechanic of crew No 403, tutor of his Chinese colleagues:
"We performed well today, there was a hard short special. My Chinese crew colleagues drove at their own pace, they did not risk, did not exceed limits of their capabilities. Of course, this pace is lower than other KAMAZ crews have, but it's also not bad: we reached the finish line without stops and adventures. There is a specificity to go in the Chinese crew: they talk a lot and emotionally, laugh, there is a feeling that one tells the other how to get to the grandmother. Our navigators tell only the most necessary things: "left", "right" – briefly and clearly. And here they always talk about something. Of course, it is difficult for me to estimate, but I think that our navigator is a professional in his field: we never went off the course. In general, I want to say that today is not a simple day for me, today is birthday of my beautiful wife, whom I congratulate and love very much! I'll be home soon!"
Liao Min – co-pilot of crew No 403 before the start:
"I know all the surroundings from A to Z, I've been driving in the sands of China for about 15 years, but in such crew composition for the first time. In my opinion, being a navigator in a truck is much easier than in a buggy or a jeep: it is much higher and an excellent view opens. Also due to the height you don’t feel speed as in buggy, for example: when you go in a buggy you entirely feel the speed even 50 kmh, and on the truck you may take no notice of even 140 kmh. I have no big concerns for this race, because I am sure that the truck of KAMAZ-master Team will take us to the finish line, and I, in my turn, I will not let get lost in these places."
Ranking of KAMAZ-master crews:
1. Crew No 402: Nikolaev E., Nikitin D., Galyautdinov A. 1 hour 35 min.20 sec
2. Crew No 401: Karginov A., Mokeev A., Leonov I. + 0 min. 51 seconds
3. Crew No 403: Zi Rong, Liao Min, Svistunov D. + 11 min. 48 seconds