The 905 km eighth Stage Bortala and Ürümqi, is the longest of the 2016 Silk Way Rally. And it was anything but easy.
Most of the timed sector took place in the Junggar Basin and it played into the hands of Yazeed Al Rahji.
As the temperature rose to 38C the Saudi Arabian racked up a first and well deserved win for the Mini team.
Second in the general classification Sébastien Loeb led the way for most of the day, but finished 31secs behind Al Rahji.
Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret were third, 51secs adrift of the stage winner.
Silk Way Rally leaders, Cyril Despres and David Castera came home fourth at 4mins 19secs off the pace. The pair had started the day with a 10-minute buffer to the second placed Loeb. This has been cut to 6mins 58secs.
Vladimir Vasilyev remains third overall at 14mins 50secs.
In the truck category, Holland’s Martin Van Den Brink extended his lead. It was the second consecutive triumph for the Renault Sherpa driver and he won by a margin of 5mins 47secs from second-placed Ayat Mardeev of Russia.
Dmitry Sotnikov finished the stage third. coming home 6m 11secs behind the leaders. The Russian remains third overall but his time gap to Van Der Brink is now 18mins 40secs.
Anton Shibalov (Kamaz) was fourth at the line, 18 minutes adrift of Van Den Brink and drops to third overall.