The 2017 Silk Way Rally is about to set off from Moscow’s Red Square – on the start of a breathtaking adventure of nearly 10,000 kilometres through Russia, Kazakhstan and China.
But first there were rigorous pre-race checks of the vehicles and the paperwork in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
Russian vehicle giant Kamaz is looking to make it six wins out of seven in the trucks category, even if legendary driver Vladimir Chagin has put his racing days behind him.
The seven-time Dakar winner is now the Silk Way Rally director.
Kamaz boast no shortage of worthy successors, though, starting with the defending champion in the trucks category, Airat Mardeev.
“For me it’s a very big responsibility to try to keep my title,” Mardeev said before the race.
However, Kamaz won’t have it all their own way, with the likes of Gerard De Rooy, Martin van den Brink and 2011 champion Ales Loprais also gunning for Silk Way glory.
No question about the team to beat in the cars category … French manufacturer Peugeot, fresh from a 1-2-3 on the Dakar, are clear favourites.
Live from Moscow! Look who we met on the Moskova River: #PeugeotDKR heading to— Peugeot Sport (@peugeotsport) July 6, 2017
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Sebastien Loeb and Stephane Peterhansel both keen to take the crown from last year’s winner, Cyril Despres.
It’s the first time that I’m on a car race with the number 100. It means I won this race last year. It was my first win ever on four wheels,” Despres said.