59 cars/trucks et 11 bikes/ATVs have completed the 4765,16 kilometers of the rally designed in the Xinjiang province, in the far West of People’s Republic of China. The strong heats felt during the eight days of race, especially in the cross of Taklamakan desert, have pushed competitors and vehicles to the limits.
Han Wei claims his third Taklimakan Rally victory after the 2015 and 2016 editions. With his co-driver Liao Min, the driver-manufacturer, owner of Han Wei Motorsport, formed the most consistant crew in winning four stage victories. The top 3 of car category is completed with Lu Binglong / Sha He (BAIC) ranking second, and Christian Lavieille / Jean-Pierre Garcin (BAIC), third. The French crew have done a steady race but they may regret the time lost following a light roll over in stage 1. Geely Auto Coopertires and Run Racing Motorsports went into an intense battle during the eight timed section raced. These two teams placed seven cars in the top 10 of the overall standing. Rémy Vauthier and Jean Brucy finished their first Taklimakan Rally at the fourty first position. It was not the main point for the crew of the Optimus buggy. Day after day, they enjoyed the amazing sceneries of the Xinjiang province.
In motobike category, Armand Monleón, already twice titleholder, wins one more trophy. After a difficult beginning, the Spanish rider reacted swiftly to finally dominate the others riders. 2018 Taklimakan Rally is a complete success for Daming KTMR2R Rally team since three bikes of the team are in the top 3. Zhang Min is in second position followed by Zhao Hongyi. Pablo Pascual and Eric Schiano, Zongshen teammates, finished fourth and fifth, in spite of a motorbike still in development but very reliable. The Argentinian rider wins even stage 7 while Eric Schiano grabs an encouraging top 5 for his first cross-country rally in China.
Final overall classification 2018 Taklimakan Rally / Car
1. Han Wei (CHN) / Liao Min (CHN), Geely, 23h53’09’’
2. Lu Binglong (CHN) / Sha He (CHN), BAIC, + 2’23’’
3. Christian Lavieille (FRA) / Jean-Pierre Garcin (FRA), BAIC, + 8’30’’
4. Zi Yungang (CHN) / Wang Zengrong (CHN), Geely, + 16’38’’
5. Liu Yangui (CHN) / Hongyu Pan (CHN), BAIC, + 22’50’’
41. Rémy Vauthier (CH) / Jean Brucy (FRA), Optimus, + 99h5’01’’
Final overall classification 2018 Taklimakan Rally / Motorbike
1. Armand Monleón (ESP), KTM, 25h14’41’’
2. Zhang Min (CHN), KTM, + 1h33’33’’
3. Zhao Hongyi (CHN), KTM, + 1h47’38’’
4. Pablo Pascual (ARG), Zongshen, + 2h28’21’’
5. Eric Schiano (FRA), Zongshen, + 4h56’18’’
Source: Rally-Raid Network