The ninth stage of the international Silk Way Rally 2019 on the route Alashan - Jiayuguan took place on Monday, July 15.
Sunday turned out successful: KAMAZ-master took first three places of the general classification. Martin van den Brink, who was fourth, lost 1 hour 20 minutes to the leader Anton Shibalov, 55 minutes separated the Dutchman from the third place. Taking into account a large time gap, the task of the Russian team’s crews was to avoid the risk and to pass the distance in the “working” mode.
Before the start of the ninth stage, the five-time winner of Dakar, Eduard Nikolaev, addressed KAMAZ-master crews: “Hello, friends! Unfortunately, I cannot be near you, but I follow the race closely. I am concerned about KAMAZ-master crews no less than if I had been driving at that moment. This year the race turns out to be very difficult, not easy for us. I am glad that the guys are fighting to the last meter and could become leaders of the rally. Ahead is the final stage, I believe that everything will end well for us! ”
The special section of 290 kilometers, as promised by the rally organizers, turned out extremely difficult. The dune part was dangerous to get stuck in the sands, and the impassibility with its pits and ditches caused inconvenience to athletes, who were in constant shaking. Moreover, in the Gobi Desert there is a real heat - the maximum temperature today reached 40 degrees Celsius. So, getting to the finish line of the stage was a real challenge not only for the vehicles, but also for people.
The crew of Anton Shibalov, who won the second stage in a row, coped best with passage of the picturesque special section with a majestic mountain range on the background. The result of the Silk Way Rally leader was 4 hours 3 minutes 15 seconds. Andrey Karginov lost 8 minutes 52 seconds to him. Airat Mardeev (+11: 25) closed the top three on the results of the competition day. Sergey Kuprianov on a gas-and-diesel truck lost more than two hours due to technical problems (+2: 21: 37).
Anton Shibalov, driver of KAMAZ-master Team (crew No 303): “Not simple special stage, almost all day were dunes and off-road. And off-road here is so that pits, hills and camel thorns were very tough. After becoming the race leaders, we went with reserve, the risk is inappropriate now: you need to get to the finish line without any problems for the truck. The leadership on the Silk Way Rally was unexpected, but it is a rally-raid, you have to keep astrain to the very podium, because even on the liaison you can lose the result on the last day. The fight goes till the very finish.”
Andrey Karginov, driver of KAMAZ-master Team (crew No 300): “Today was not such a high-speed track, probably the slowest on this Silk Way Rally. There were dunes, but not complex, small, we were driving slowly. Then there was a lot of impassibility, pits, ditches, a lot of shaking. Today, by the way, it was very hot - about 40 degrees, the engine began to warm up. All contestants are in the same conditions. We are preparing for the race, physically feel good. We understand that not only vehicles, but also the organism wins. You need to be absolutely focused.”
In the general standings, Anton Shibalov strengthened his leadership - 23 hours 25 minutes 17 seconds. Andrey Karginov is second (+24: 48), on third place is Airat Mardeev (+37: 29), who received one more one-minute penalty in one of the stages. The crew of Sergey Kuprianov keeps the fifth line in the ranking table (+3: 53: 33).
Airat Mardeev, driver of KAMAZ-master Team (crew No 302): “Everything was fine, nothing unusual happened today: dunes, a lot of off-road. We drove at our own pace, carefully, because we understand that the main task now is to keep the result, not to make mistakes. Everything is in order with the truck, we came back in one place, we stopped once in the dunes, lost a little time. Today the dunes were better than yesterday, with “prods”, sharp descents.”
The tenth and final stage of the Silk Way Rally will take place on Tuesday along the route Jiayuguan - Dunhuang. The total length of the stage will be 556 kilometers, and the special section will include 255 kilometers. On the same day a solemn ceremony will be held. Until the end of the race remains quite a bit!
TRUCK CATEGORY. RANKING OF STAGE 9.
Pos. Name Make Time Gap
1 A. SHIBALOV Kamaz 04:03:15 00:00:00
2 A. KARGINOV Kamaz 04:12:07 00:08:52
3 A. MARDEEV Kamaz 04:14:40 00:11:25
4 M. VAN DEN BRINK Renault 04:37:57 00:34:42
5 A. VASILEVSKI MAZ 04:41:36 00:38:21
6 A. KADSHAI DAF 06:02:31 01:59:16
7 B. LEVITSKII Gaz 06:23:47 02:20:32
8 S. KUPRIANOV Kamaz 06:24:52 02:21:37
Pos. Name Make Time Gap
1 A. SHIBALOV Kamaz 23:25:12 00:00:00
2 A. KARGINOV Kamaz 23:50:00 00:24:48
3 A. MARDEEV Kamaz 24:02:41 00:37:29
4 M. VAN DEN BRINK Renault 25:20:17 01:55:05
5 S. KUPRIANOV Kamaz 27:18:45 03:53:33
6 A. VASILEVSKI MAZ 28:28:23 05:03:11
7 A. KADSHAI DAF 29:58:12 06:33:00
8 B. LEVITSKII Gaz 141:06:42 117:41:30
Photo by A.Elikov, D.Galchun