Volkswagen is ready for the “Dakar” dress rehearsal in Russia: the four driver/co-driver duos and the support squad passed technical and document scrutineering for the 2010 Silk Way Rally on Friday.
The rally will start in St. Petersburg on 11 September, covering a distance of 4,800 kilometres and will end in Sochi on 18 September. Volkswagen is fielding a new Race Touareg 3 for Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E) and three predecessor models for Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA). For the “RT3” this marks the competitive debut prior to the run of four of the 310-hp AWD vehicles at the “Dakar”. Thanks to the demanding route with quick gravel sections in the early and increasingly sandy stretches on the final stages the Silk Way Rally is regarded as ideal preparation for the legendary Dakar Rally that will lead through Argentina and Chile from 01 to 16 January 2011.
Silk Way Rally 2010: ceremonial start in a splendid historic setting
On Saturday the Silk Way Rally will start its first leg heading from St. Petersburg in the direction of Staraya Russa. For the ceremonial start across the ramp the organiser, A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation), who organises the Dakar Rally in South America as well, has selected a very special location. The field of nearly 50 entrants in the automobile classification will move across the ramp at the Palace Square – thus presenting themselves in the heart of the city on the banks of the river Neva. In front of the splendid backdrop of the Winter Palace the entrants, including nearly 20 participants in the truck classification, will be sent off to the rally by the spectators.
Fitness endurance test in competitive conditions: von Zitzewitz contests Cyclassics in Hamburg
9,500 grueling kilometres through the desert in the southern summer of Argentina and Chile: the Dakar Rally requires “man and material” to be in top shape. To perfectly prepare for the desert classic, the drivers and co-drivers of the Volkswagen factory team, in addition to preparatory rallies like the Silk Way Rally, complete individual fitness programmes to be in top physical condition. For the German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz, who won the 2009 Dakar Rally in the Volkswagen together with the South African Giniel de Villiers, cycling as endurance training is part of the programme. In mid-August the Northern German contested the Cyclassics in Hamburg at which he posted a time of 2h 46m 29.27s equating to an average of 37.01 km/h on the 102.7-kilometre loop in the port city. His result: 2345th place in a field of 12,985 entrants.
The Silk Way Rally route in detail
Date, Leg, Start–Finish, Special Stage, Liaison, Total
11 Sep 2010, 1, St. Petersburg–Staraya Russa, 85.75 km, 329.58 km, 415.33 km
12 Sep 2010, 2, Staraya Russa–Vyasma, 173.13 km, 578.48 km, 751.61 km
13 Sep 2010, 3, Vyasma–Lipetsk, 207.95 km, 398.65 km, 606.60 km
14 Sep 2010, 4, Lipetsk–Volgograd, 298.05 km, 488.22 km, 786.27 km
15 Sep 2010, 5, Volgograd–Astrakhan, 446.40 km, 148.67 km, 595.07 km
16 Sep 2010, 6, Astrakhan–Elista, 389.05 km, 105.25 km, 494.30 km
17 Sep 2010, 7, Elista–Maykop, 336.70 km, 442.30 km, 779.00 km
18 Sep 2010, 8, Maykop–Sochi, 16.16 km, 358.70 km, 374.86 km
Total: 1,953.19 km, 2,849.85 km, 4,803.04 km
Coming up …
Saturday, 11 September: The 1st leg St. Petersburg (RUS)–Staraya Russa (RUS) in brief: 50% fast sections, 50% twisty, sandy passages – partially muddy due to rainfalls
The Silk Way Rally on TV
Sunday, 12 September 2010
00.00–00.15, Eurosport, Silk Way Rally, summary, leg 1
11.00–11.15, Eurosport, Silk Way Rally, summary, leg 1 (rerun)
20.45–21.00, Eurosport, Silk Way Rally, summary, leg 2