Taklimakan Rally: The Oriental Dakar Rally

Taklimakan Rally, dubbed as “the oriental Dakar rally” has just finished its competition of 2016 in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China.With “Dream, Conquest and Challenge” as its slogan, the Taklimakan Rally has grown into the largest annual off-road endurance race in Asia with most of its track winding through dunes, mud, and rocks.

Taklimakan Rally

As the world’s sencond largest shifting sand desert, Taklimakan boasts wild, magnificent landscapes, which could compete with venues of top class rally races. The Chinese event also aims to become a first class off-road rally and attract the largest group of competitors.

For car racers and fans, the beauty of rally race lies in its clash between the wild environment and the pursuit of high speed.

Some fans say the beauty of the race is the Taklimakan Desert. About 85 percent of the desert is shifting sand dunes.

Taklimakan has an area of 330,000 square kilometers with the highest temperature of 67.2 degrees centigrade and the forty-centigrade day and night temperature difference. Its annual rainfall is less than 100 millimeters.

But for the drivers, they have no time to enjoy the unique view of scenery along the rally routes. The harsh road conditions have been great challenges for them, but conquering them is the reason why they particiapted in the rally.

From our own correspondent:

Jiang Wenyao is a veteran photographer in Xinjiang for Xinhua News Agency and has covered the Taklimakan Rally for eight years.

Jiang’s photos of the race are mainly done up in the air in helicopters. He said when shooting in the helicopter, he had to use a safe rope to tie himself with the plane. There are also some differences between photographing the rally and other normal things. When following the routes and vehicle underneath, the helicopter has to make twists and turns, which feels like sitting in an old-fashioned roller coaster.

Although much of the work can be done with drones now, Jiang believes there are still some aspects that the drones cannot replace. Photographing from the helicopter can provide photographers with larger shooting view; better shooting angel and higher quality pictures.

(All the photos are by Jiang Wenyao