SilkWay gets new drivers, teams and challenges for 2017

The Silk Way, one of the world's toughest rallies, announces star drivers and new teams for the 2017 edition taking in Russia, Kazakhstan, and China

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SilkWay gets new drivers, teams and challenges for 2017

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The route for the 2017 Silk Way rally has been released at a lavish event in Paris, and organisers promise the most spectacular race yet.

The seventh edition will start from Red Square in Moscow on July 7, and ends in China on the 22nd after 14 stages of the most gruelling motorsport the organisers can imagine.

“Sebastian Loeb, Stephane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres will drive for Peugeot, again entering three cars which is fantastic as they are the strongest team right now. Toyota will have to be reckoned with, and I think it’s not too soon to suggest Nasser Al-Attiyah will take part. Mini will also provide a strong team, so there will be a lot of top drivers, and also the amateurs, who are very important for a race like ours,” said race advisor and former ski champion Luc Alphand.

The current title holder is France’s Cyril Despres and he is expecting the best race yet, and some hard driving looking at the competition.

“For me the Silk Road is a major competition, but it’s also an event I love. It was the first rally I ever won, and it’s a hard race, a long race, that makes huge demands on the driver, with tough navigation and a lot of off-road racing. I have very good memories of the last race and I’m impatient to get to the start line and do the same thing again, if possible,” he says.

The king of this sort of motorsport however is Stephane Peterhansel, always tough to beat, who has a million kilometres under his belt.

“Every time I get to the start line of the Dakar, the Silkway or the Morocco rally, it’s always with one goal in mind, winning. Besides that of course there’s the simple pleasure of driving, which is important even if I really adore this race and want to win it,” he says.

The race will wind its way through Russia, Kazakhstan and China, and from 2018 on, motorcycles will be added as the race expands. They took part in the first edition in 2009, but have not been included since.