Silk Way Rally 2017


On July 8, 2017 the seventh Silk Way Rally set off from Red Square in Moscow and head east. The competition will take place in three countries – Russia, Kazakhstan and China – and will link the three capitals of Moscow, Astana and Beijing. Crews will cover a distance of 10,000km over two weeks, and almost half will be on special stages.

The truck category could welcome both Ales Loprais and Marin Kolomy, both on Tatras.


August 9th: The Czech drivers sprang a surprise in the first stage. Martin Kolomy (Tatra Phoenix n°311) and Ales Loprais(Tatra 815/2 n°305), became first and second respectively on this first special. Clearly more at ease over the slippery tracks, the ‘small’ Czech vehicles came home ahead of Dutchman Ton Van Genugten Iveco and the MAZ of Belorussia Siarhei Viazovich. Gerard De Rooy and his new Iveco completed the top 5, more than 4 minutes behind Kolomy. Considerably further back, the Kamaz team made a surprisingly discreet debut on what could be considered a warm up special.

First of the ‘blue armada’ trucks in was that of Anton Shibalov (Kamaz 4326 n°312) who this evening is in only 8th place, 4:18 behind the day’s winner.

Kolomy quote”“We are used to driving in these conditions, at home in the Czech Republic. Of course it means opening the piste tomorrow. It won’t be a problem for me, but more for my co-driver, who comes from WRC and hasn’t raced in rally-raid before…”


It was Martin van den Brink (Renault Sherpa n°301) and Gerard De Rooy (Iveco 4×4 DRNL n°302) who led home the Silk Way Rally truck race on the second stage on August 10th. Taking advantage of a certain amount of over-enthusiasm from the Tatras of Kolomy and Loprais, as well as Viazovich in his MAZ, all of whom made errors on this particularly tricky special, the Dutchmen came out on top. And while van den Brink took 2m04s off De Rooy on the stage, overall he is only 13 seconds ahead of his countryman. The Kazakh Ardavicius (Iveco 4×4 DRNL n°310) takes the third spot just ahead of the first Kamaz of Anton Shibalov (n°312). Loprais had a disastrous day. In today’s speed trial he stood three times. Twice for a broken hose, and for the third time it was a fatal breakdown: shattered clutch.  He could not shift anything out of the neutral, so had to wait for towage. No one, of course, stopped by, only the pilot Boucou in the end, but in such a difficult terrain it was impossible for him to help.


In the third stage, After having nearly taken victory on three previous occasion, thanks to their driver Siarhei Viazovich, the factory MAZ team from Minsk finally realised their dream of winning a rally-raid special on this 3rd stage of the 2017 Silk Way Rally. Second, less than a minute behind, the Czech driver Kolomy (Tatra n°311), Saturday’ winner, takes the overall lead, ahead of a trio of Kamaz led by Anton Shibalov (n°312) ahead of his team mates Sotnikov (n°303) and Mardeev (n°300). Discreet up until now, the Kamaz look ready to pounce. Not such a good day however for yesterday’s front runners. Starting first this morning, Martin van den Brink (Renault ‘Sherpa’ n°301) ran into mechanical problems at the end of the special, losing nearly 30 minutes, while Gerard De Rooy (Iveco Powerstar n°302) gave away 17 minutes opening the piste. Loprais did not start in the 3rd stage as the clutch was heavily damaged. It was eventually fixed  to fix it in the workshops of Kamaz until six o’clock in the morning, which was followed by a short rest and further hard work on the Tatra.  Loprais had to give up the start in the stage and move to the bivouac in Kostanay, Kazakhstan.


The 4th stage saw a new victory of Martin Kolomy, extending his lead overall. The longest stage of the rally also saw some major upsets in the truck class, while up at the front of the race Gerard De Rooy (Iveco Powertsar n°302) and Martin Kolomy (Tatra Phoenix n°311) fought it out tooth and nail. In the beginning it looked like it was the Dutchman who was going to come out on top, but in the end it was the Czech who took both specials to finish just 21 seconds ahead. Overall Kolomy increases his lead on De Rooy to more than 11 minutes. On home ground, the Kazakh Artur Ardavicius (Iveco Powerstar n°310) took third place, both on the stage and overall. Loprais again did not start to give his crew some time to rest.  He will start in stage 5 however.


Playing a low profile since the start in Moscow, last Saturday, the Kamaz choose this first long special to get on the gas. A decision that saw Naberezhnie Tchelny’s blue monsters take the first three places on the day. Winning ahead of Shibalov and Nikolaev, Dmitry Sotnikov (Kamaz-Master n°303) also takes the overall lead 48 seconds in front of Anton Shibalov (Kamaz-Master n°312) and 15m27s ahead of the Czech driver Kolomy (Tatra Phoenix 311), who lost more than 50 minutes after getting stuck on the going. The day after their fellow countrymen’s disastrous run of bad luck that saw all three Team Mammoet / Riwald trucks out, it was the turn of Team De Rooy Iveco to suffer. Starting second today, Gerard De Rooy (Iveco Powerstar n°302) was forced to leave the special at CP2 (Km 260) when his cabin chassis broke. Team mate, the Kazakh driver Artur Ardavicius (Iveco Powerstar n°310), managed to finish the stage but only after giving away nearly an hour to Sotnikov after getting stuck.