Posted on July 08, 2019

The first long day of racing has seen gaps emerge in the overall rankings at the 2019 Silk Way Rally. Monday’s 212-kilometre timed special stage between Baykalsk and Ulan-Ude gave plenty of scope for the top competitors to assert themselves. The end result was stage wins for pre-rally favourites across most race categories.

The bikes were the first vehicles onto the stage this morning and the pace was set by 2017 Dakar Rally winner Sam Sunderland (GBR). Despite Sunderland having an eye on starting positions for stage three, nobody was able to match his pace. “I just tried to manage my pace as best as I could. Winning the stage was not in the strategy, but that’s the cards we’ve got now so we’ll just have to roll wit it tomorrow.” – Sam Sunderland

Due to Sunderland’s winning result he will open tomorrow’s 243-kilometres stage to the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaater. The British biker will be joined on the stage by fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Team bikers Luciano Benavides (ARG) and Laia Sanz (ESP) who both finished in the Top 10 on the second stage. “I really enjoyed the first 100 kilometres of today’s stage. It was beautiful out there and the riding was very enjoyable.” – Luciano Benavides. A cautious ride over the sharp rocks brought Anastasiya Nifontova (RUS) to the finish line as the Husqvarna rider continues to delight race fans in her native Russia.

In the car race it was a second stage win of the 2019 Silk Way Rally for Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT). Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) expertly crossed all the mountains, forests and rivers that stood in their way today to further extend their lead. “Today was really not an easy stage, you needed to be focused for the full 200-plus kilometres. We had to deal with water, stones and lots of time in the forest.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah. Al-Attiyah’s fellow Toyota Hilux driver and the defending Silk Way champion Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU) ran into trouble on stage two. Mechanical trouble on the way to Ulan-Ude appears to have cost Al-Rajhi any chance of retaining his car race title.

The surprise results keep coming in the truck race as Siarhay Viazovich (BLR) steered his MAZ truck to another stage win ahead of his Team Kamaz Master rivals. Viazovich now holds an advantage of seven minutes over Andrey Karginov (RUS) who sits second overall. Karginov’s Kamaz team-mate Anton Shibalov (RUS) is currently third, a further 90 seconds back. “All the stones made this a very difficult special stage to get through. We picked up a puncture and lost time replacing the wheel. In general we drove well, but the puncture disrupted our rhythm." – Anton Shibalov.

It’s an early start on Tuesday morning as the Silk Way Rally convoy heads into Mongolia. The 243-kilometre timed special stage has lots of rocky sections that will require the full focus of the competitors.

2019 Silk Way Rally: Stage 2 Results

Car: Top 3
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA)   Toyota Hilux   02:15:51
2. Kun Liu (CHN)/Hongyu Pan (CHN)   SMG Buggy   +00:07:40
3. Wei Han (CHN)/Liao Min (CHN)   SMG Buggy   +00:10:14

Bike: Top 3
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR)   KTM   02:20:30
2. Oriol Mena (ESP)   Hero   +00:00:39
3. Paulo Goncalves (PRT)   Hero   +00:00:50

Truck: Top 3
1. Siarhay Viazovich (BLR)   MAZ
2. Andrey Karginov (RUS)   Kamaz   +00:03:30
3. Maarten Van Den Brink (NLD)   Renault   +00:06:25

2019 Silk Way Rally: Overall Rankings after Stage 2

Car: Top 3
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (FRA)   Toyota Hilux
2. Kun Liu (CHN)/Hongyu Pan (CHN)   SMG Buggy   +00:13:53
3. Jérome Pelichet (FRA)/Pascal Larroque (FRA)   Optimus

Bike: Top 3
1. Kevin Benavides (ARG)   Honda   02:52:28
2. Sam Sunderland (GBR)   KTM   +00:00:08
3. Paulo Goncalves (PRT)   Hero   +00:01:19

Truck: Top 3
1. Siarhay Viazovich (BLR)   MAZ
2. Andrey Karginov (RUS)   Kamaz   +00:06:57
3. Anton Shibalov (RUS)   Kamaz   +00:07:38