DMAS South Racing faces one of its most formidable challenges when it enters a Toyota Hilux for the Chilean duo of Hernan Garces and Luis Eguigeran and a South Racing-run Nissan Navara for the German duo of Jürgen and Maximilian Schröder in the gruelling Silk Way Rally, a punishing 15-day cross-country rally from Moscow to Beijing, starting in the Russian capital’s Red Square on Saturday (July 9).
Garces is relishing the chance to drive the DMAS Ford Ranger over such a long distance. He and fellow Chilean navigator Juan Pablo Latrach finished eighth overall at the Sealine Cross-Country Rally, one of the most demanding rounds of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies in terms of navigation, at the end of April.
New co-driver Eguigeran has competed behind the wheel himself and has previously tackled the Dakar Rally in both Africa and South America. He fell heavily while competing on a motorcycle in Africa way back in 2002, but one of the highlights of his off-road career was finishing the event with his son in Buenos Aires in 2011.
South Racing will also run a Nissan Navara for the German duo of Jürgen and Maximilian Schröder. The experienced German has tackled the Dakar in both a car and a truck in the past and is looking forward to his Silk Way experience with South Racing.
The Silk Way Rally has attracted a superb entry and Garces and Eguigeran will line-up alongside a catalogue of rallying champions including Stéphane Peterhansel (the record-breaking 12-time Dakar champion), Sébastien Loeb (the world’s most successful ever WRC driver) and five-time Dakar motorcycle winner Cyril Despres.
South Racing was founded in 2013. Based near Frankfurt in Germany, the young, customer-driven team also has workshops in Portugal and has extensive experience of the Dakar Rally and rallying in South America.
The Silk Way Rally is being organised under the presidency of former Kamaz truck racer Vladimir Chagin and will run under the auspices of the Russian Automobile Federation (RAF), the FIA the Kazakh Motorsports Federation (KAMS) and the Chinese Motorsport Federation (FASC).
After administration and scrutineering checks in Moscow on July 7-8, the action gets underway on Saturday (July 9) with a long road section of 849.85km between the start in Moscow’s Red Square and the city of Kazan, where there will be a short spectator stage of just two kilometres to get the competition underway.
The proper off-road action takes centre stage from Sunday onwards with the route heading from Kazan and on through the cities of Ufa, Kostanay, Astana, Balkhash and arriving in the Kazakh capital of Almaty on July 14th The city will then play host to the rest day the following day.
Action resumes on Saturday, July 16th with a selective section between Almaty and Bortala and then the route heads further east towards Urumqi, Hami, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Alashan, Wuhai, Hohhot and on to the finish in the Chinese capital of Beijing on Sunday, July 24th.
In a total route of 10,774km, race officials have planned for nearly 4,105km to be timed against the clock.