MOTORSPORT NEWS OFF ROAD

CHRISTIAN LAVIEILLE AND ARMAND MONLEÓN WIN TAKLIMAKAN RALLY 2017

After ten stages designed in Xinjiang province in China, Taklimakan Rally 2017 finished today in Hami with the final victory of Christian Lavieille and Jean-Pierre Garcin in car category. Armand Monleón wins in motorcycle. 
Terence Marsh
After a first entry in 2015 ended in a retirement due to mechanical problem, Christian Lavieille and Jean-Pierre Garcin with  a Baic V8 Proto  claim victory of Taklimakan Rally. It is the second win of the French duo in China after their victory in China Grand Rally 2014. Binlong Lu and He Sha provide with BAIC a one-two finish. Geely Boyue HanWei SMG team lead by Han Wei and Stéphane Prévot, get an overall strong result with five cars in the top ten of overall classification.
Armand Monleón retains his title in bike category. He managed his race and contented himself with maintaining his advance that he built in the first stages. Min Zhang and Zhou Tian, respectively second and third, provide with KTM a one-two-three finish.
Whilst 120 competitors entered the race in Tacheng, only 63 completed the ten stages and 6000 kilometers route mainly designed in Taklamakan desert. A really low finisher ratio which can be explained by very long stages proposed by the organisation. The heatwarm currently experiencing in Xinjiang Province also significantly weakened man and machines.

Armand Monleón #1, Bikes category winner:

“I’m very happy of these two weeks. The KTM team did a great job. Taklimakan Rally is a very complete race. We won fast stages, very complicated stage with tricky navigation, off-road stages,… Of course we made some mistakes because it is a 2 weeks rally. I now turn to my next goals, Bajan Spain and Dakar Rally.”

Christian Lavieille #116, cars category winner: 

“We are delighted to this victory. We were very close to get it two years ago. Jean-Pierre did a great job. We had to be patient because navigation was very tricky. We always had a good pace, and we pushed hard when we had to. Keeopower is a new team, so we could have fought with fiability issue. The team did a great job, we had no problem with the car. We will have to do as well next year. We are confident for Silk Way Rally.”

Pascal Thomasse #113, 49th in car category: 

“In sporting terms, results have been mixed. We won the prologue but we destroyed our race when we rolled over the day after. We tried to make good performances the next stages even if we stayed always behind our teammates. It was a good experience shared with a well-structured team. This rally is sumptuous with extraordinary tracks.”

Terence Marsh #177, 12th in car category:

“What a great event… Extremely tough but very rewarding. The terrain was incredible and a real test of man and machine. The Chinese people are really nice and we were part of a great team. Our first trip to China as a team and we have fallen in love with the people and the country.”