Ceremonial start of the “Silk Way Rally” in Xi'an marked the beginning of the second rally stage, taking place on Chinese soil. Despite the fact that Chinese fans gathered at the start, the trucks of KAMAZ-master Team were greeted as old friends. The first to the podium drove Russian-Chinese crew. Mechanic Dmitry Svistunov will not only watch the technical part during the race, but also be a coach for the crew during special sections, as the excellent pilot Zi Rong and no less trusted navigator Liao Min have little experience in driving a sports truck. They were followed on the podium by trucks of Eduard Nikolaev and Andrey Karginov, the winner of the Russian stage of the “Silk Way Rally”.
The racing start will be given to the vehicles only on September 25. On September 23 and 24, the combat crews and the assistance team must overcome about 1,000 km of driving and arrive at the bivouac in the "Dream Garden" (the "Heroes' Race" area in Alashan), in this city on September 28 there will be a ceremonial finish and awarding of the winners.
Eduard Nikolaev - pilot of crew No 402:
"For us, “Silk Way Rally” is a very interesting event, we are not so often in China. The mood is wonderful, the weather is wonderful, ceremonial start is well organized - in general "Silk Way Rally" competitions are one of the most spectacular and beautiful races in the world rating, so we hope that the organizers will please us with new routes and interesting landscapes, and we, in turn, will try to show a good result. But our main task in this race is to test vehicles before Dakar. It is necessary to test all our novelties: unites and aggregates, it is also important to drive in a new crew composition, with co-pilot Dmitry Nikitin and mechanic Akhmet Galyautdinov, to see preparation of the guys. For myself, I set the task to estimate the truck technically, see how faster the truck can go comparing with the previous truck generation, on which sections the vehicle performs better, assess the engine and other units. "
Dmitry Svistunov - mechanic of crew No 403, tutor of his Chinese colleagues:
"We were waiting for the start in China, there are very large dunes. Now I'm traveling in a Russian-Chinese crew with very experienced pilots, professionals in their field. They say, that our navigator is one of the best in China, the pilot is also excellent in driving a jeep, plus they are local, so they will have an advantage of our guys. I made myself a little “cheatsheet” in Chinese, but the main word I learnt immediately is the word "stop!"
Photo by M.Lastochkin and D. Bushkovsky