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MINI ALL4 Racing Contests Silk Way Rally

MotoringFile posts this official MINI press release:
MINI ALL4 Racing cars are set to compete for the first time at the Silk Way Rally. The Silk Way Rally takes place across some of the most spectacular landscape on the planet as this former trade route winds its way from Russia to China.

The sixth edition of the Silk Way Rally starts with a podium ceremony to be held at Moscow’s Red Square on 8 July. The race officially starts with Leg 1 on 9 July as the competitors head east to Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, and finish (Leg 15) in Beijing, China 24 July.

The route from Russia to China will cover 10,734 km, of which over 4,000 km will be special stages. All manner of terrain will be encountered en route, from soil to gravel, to rocks and dunes. Altitude will also play a part in the race; some sections will take place at 2,500 metres elevation.

MINI has risen to the challenge of the Silk Way Rally with the entry of five MINI ALL4 Racing prepared do battle against extreme arduous conditions and an international line up of competitors.
 
The MINI ALL4 Racing family consists of five pairs of experienced drivers and co-drivers. For X-raid Team, Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-pilot Timo Gottschalk (GER) are looking to capitalise on their recent run of good form. Presently they hold second place in the 2016 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. Joining them on the start line is fellow X-raid Team pairing of Harry Hunt (GB) and Andreas Schulz (GER). Although a relatively new pairing, this crew completed the 2016 Dakar Rally with a well-deserved 10th place.

Three other MINI ALL4 Racing are also set to compete at the Silk Way Rally. Under the banner of Astana Motorsport there are Aidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ) / Anton Nikolaev (RUS) and Bauyrzhan Issabayev (KAZ) / Vladimir Demyanenko (RUS).

Rakhimbayev / Nikolaev also have Dakar experience in a MINI ALL4 racing, when they finished the 2015 edition in ninth. Issabayev and co-driver Demyanenko have no previous race experience at the controls of a MINI ALL4 Racing, but Issabayev’s previous Dakar events will no doubt stand him in good stead over the distance of the Silk Way Rally. Hoping to make use of local knowledge in Russian territory and wins in the FIA World Cup will be the massively Dakar and FIA World Cup experienced duo of Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) driving the fifth MINI ALL4 Racing in the colours of G-Energy Team.

The two week-long Silk Way Rally is without doubt a tough event and almost mirrors the extreme racing conditions to be had at the Dakar Rally. Despite unknown road and weather conditions as the race crosses two continents, the five MINI ALL4 Racing crews are more than ready to take on whatever they come across because of their vast experience.

Of course, it also helps knowing the MINI ALL4 Racing is one of the most durable and reliable long distance rally cars ever to be produced – four consecutive Dakar titles (2012-15) and second in 2016 reinforces this. Add to this four FIA World Cup championship titles and you can understand why the MINI ALL4 Racing is a highly respected competition machine.

Performance and reliability doesn’t come easy, but MINI achieved this very early because of its commitment to ongoing development. Indeed, because of the distance involved and the range of terrain to be encountered, the Silk Way Rally is a perfect testing ground for MINI and the famed MINI ALL4 Racing – especially as the cross-country rally world is already focussed on Dakar Rally 2017.

For further information about the Silk Way Rally 2016, please visit: www.silkwayrally.com
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UPDATE: Saturday, July 9, 2016

BMW PressClub USA issued this press release:
MINI ALL4 Racing family perfectly placed after Silk Way Rally’s spectacular opening Super Special Stage.

Fifteen seconds cover top 12 finishers – four MINI ALL4 Racing inside top eight. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) comfortable in second place

Munich. The sixth edition of the Silk Way rally started in spectacularly style with a timed Super Special Stage (SSS) to determine the next day’s First Leg starting order. The spectators at Kazan, location for SSS, were treated to high speed action as each competitor strived to beat the clock.

The MINI ALL4 Racing duo of Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) were the first of the MINI ALL4 Racing family to roll up to the start line. They finished the early evening race in second position, just four seconds off from taking the number one slot.

MINI ALL4 Racing #103 of Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-pilot Timo Gottschalk (GER) were fourth from the start line and retained this position at the end. Needless to say Al Rajhi was in good spirits after the prologue.

Al Rajhi: “The ground was very soft. I think everyone was surprised at how soft it was. We tried to stay in top five for the start tomorrow and succeeded. My plan is to push for tomorrow and learn at the same time. This is the first time for me in this race but I know we have a very good car in the MINI ALL4 Racing and a very good team and we can fight hard to win this race.

Harry Hunt (GB) and Andreas Schulz (GER) also put in a determined effort and were rewarded with seventh place and just eight seconds of the lead car. “It was good,” said Hunt, before smiling and adding:“ Short and sweet...

“It was a small amount of driving compared to what we have in store for the next two weeks. There were plenty of jumps for the spectators and they seemed to like it. This is only the start and it is such a long rally. To finish would be a result but obviously we are looking to do well... top ten, hopefully more. We’ll see.

The fourth of the MINI ALL4 Racing family to cross the finish line was that of Aidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ) / Anton Nikolaev (RUS) in eighth. Fellow Astana Motorsport crew Bauyrzhan Issabayev (KAZ) / Vladimir Demyanenko (RUS) in MINI ALL4 Racing #109 was the last of the family to place and did so in 12th.

With the five MINI ALL4 Racing all completing Leg 1 (SSS) within the top 12 positions, the scene for the first major rally section (Leg 2) Kazan-to-Ufa is set to be an exciting one.

For further information about the Silk Way Rally 2016, please visit: www.silkwayrally.com

Silk Way Rally 2016: MINI ALL4 Racing

PositionDriverCo-driver#TeamTime
2ndVladimir Vasilyev (RUS)Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS)101G-Energy Team+00:00:04
4thYazeed Al Rajhi
(KSA)
Timo Gottschalk (GER)103X-raid Team00:00:05
7thHarry Hunt (GB)Andreas Schulz (GER)105X-raid Team00:00:08
8thAidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ)Anton Nikolaev (RUS)106Astana Motorsport00:00:10
12thBauyrzhan Issabayev (KAZ)Vladimir Demyanenko (RUS)109Astana Motorsport00:00:15

Race calendar: 2016 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.

19/02 – 22/02 Baja Russia
02/04 – 7/04 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
17/04 – 22/04 Sealine Cross-Country Rally Qatar
23/06 – 26/06 Italian Baja
22/07 Р24/07 Baja Aragón
11/08 – 14/08 HunGarian Baja

25/08 – 28/08 Baja Poland

03/10 – 08/10 Rallye Oilibya du Maroc
21/10 – 23/10 Baja Portalegre 500

Find reports, photos and videos in high resolution of previous MINI ALL4 Racing activity on the BMW Media Website by clicking here.

UPDATE: Sunday, July 10, 2016

Motorsports.com reports inclement weather over the past few days and a pessimistic forecast forced the cancellation of Stage 2 of the Silk Way Rally.

NORCAL MINIS CALENDAR & OTHER EVENTS