MOTORSPORT NEWS OFF ROAD

Mongolian landscape pushes competitors to limit at Silk Way

A mammoth 470-kilometre loop stage around the Ulaanbaatar bivouac saw plenty of drama served up at the 2019 Silk Way Rally. Not only was the fourth Silk Way stage an epic length, but it was also high-speed all the way.

Taking full advantage of the near 500-kilometre timed special stage were the leading bikers of the Red Bull KTM Factory Team. 2017 Dakar Rally bike race winner Sam Sunderland (GBR) claimed his second stage win of the Silk Way today. The result puts Sunderland into the overall lead of the rally for the first time.

“It was a super long day, it was also really quick so the kilometres got ticked off pretty fast.” – Sam Sunderland

Sunderland was followed home on stage four by fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Team rider Luciano Benavides (ARG). The 1-2 result for the team on stage four reflects the current overall rankings.

“The speed was so, so fast all day. I enjoyed the stage and was pleased with how I rode.” – Luciano Benavides

While we have a new leader in the bike race, things stayed the same at the top of the car race on stage four. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) took their Toyota Hilux to a fourth consecutive stage win on the loop around the Ulaanbaatar bivouac.

It underlines the expertise of the reigning Dakar Rally car race champions that they are able to open the road and still secure stage wins.

“We enjoyed the Mongolian landscape, it really was incredible. We’re so happy to be here and doing well at this rally.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah

It wasn’t the best day at the office for Team Kamaz Master as they saw their main rival Siarhay Viazovich (BLR) extend his lead in the truck race. Following yesterday’s stage win, Andrey Karginov (RUS) was all set to apply more pressure to Viazovich on stage four – but it was not a smooth ride for the Russian.

“We started to smell a problem with the antifreeze in the middle of the stage, and then the temperatures started to go up. When the situation became critical we stopped to add some water.” – Andrey Karginov

It was not just Karginov who had trouble on the stage, his Kamaz team-mate Anton Shibalov (RUS) also got held up along the way.

“Today we had to change two tyres on our truck. We had the pressure right, but the tyres didn’t hold up to the speed of the track. Unfortunately we lost about 15-20 minutes in total. It wasn’t our day.” – Anton Shibalov

Tomorrow’s fifth stage from Ulaanbaator to Mandalgovi will give Team Kamaz Master a chance to get back on the attack. The 337-kilometre timed special stage will take the Silk Way convoy as high as 1,600 metres. It’s set to be another fast stage as Mongolia continues to thrive in its role as Silk Way host.

 

2019 Silk Way Rally: Stage 4 Results

Car: Top 3
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA)   Toyota Hilux
   03:54:16

2. Eric Van Loon (NLD)/Sebastien Delaunay (FRA)   Toyota Hilux   +00:04:13
3. Kun Liu (CHN)/Hongyu Pan (CHN)   SMG Buggy   +00:05:31

Bike: Top 3
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR)   KTM   04:15:19
2. Luciano Benavides (ARG)   KTM   +00:03:46
3. Joan Barreda (ESP)   Honda   +00:04:57

Truck: Top 3
1. Siarhay Viazovich (BLR)   MAZ
   04:01:40
2. Aleksandr Vasilevski (BLR)   MAZ   +00:08:46
3. Aliaksei Vishneuski (BLR)   MAZ   +00:13:33