Silk Way Rally 2017 Part 2. Kolomy finishes 11th and wins three stages.

S.14 Despres and Sotnikov score doubles at Xi’an

  • 07/22/2017
S.14 Despres and Sotnikov score doubles at Xi’an

Arriving in triumph and bright sunshine at the ancient capital of the Middle Empire, at the end of over 700 kilometres of liaison, the competitors on the 2017 Silk Way Rally were all smiles. Cancelled following heavy overnight rain in the Zhongwei region, the last 100,67 km special was transformed into a lap of honour for the competitors and their assistance, coming to the end of 15 days and nearly 10.000 km of racing that was varied and demanding for both man and machine. Pulling into the parc fermé, that marks the end of this 2017 edition, at Xi’an’s exhibition centre, Cyril Despres and David Castera (Peugeot 3008DKR n°100) take a second consecutive victory in the car category, while Dmitry Sotnikov, accompanied by his Kamaz Ruslan team co-drivers Akhmadeev and Ilnur Mustafin (Kamaz-Master n°303) also takes a second victory in the truck class (after their first in 2013), at the end of a fierce battle with their Kamaz team mates.

Sotnikov proves the new Kamaz

With the best teams at the start, the 2017 Silk Way Rally promised a fierce fight between the four Team Kamaz-Master trucks and their principle rivals from Team Iveco De Rooy, Mammoet Riwald, MAZ and Tatra. Once again the experience and team work of the men from Tatarstan proved decisive at the end of the 10,000 km leading to Xi’an. Patient in Russia and Kazakhstan, the blue armada held back until crossing the border into China. The only one able to carry on the fight was the Czech Martin Kolomy (Tatra Phoenix n°311) who finally let go in the Gobi Desert. And it was there, in the heart of the cathedral dunes, that Sotnikov, Shibalov and Mardeev let rip to share the spoils. Keeping a cool head all the way to the finish in his 100% new Kamaz, equipped with a ‘small’ 13.5 litre Cummins engine, Dmitry Sotnikov fought off the attacks of the young and talented Anton Shibalov to take a second Silk Way win. “I can’t remember such a tough race,” commented Sotnikov, “We had to fight for each second and every day the battle became more intense. I am happy that Anton Shibalov kept up the pressure because it really bought out the best in us. Unfortunately there can only be one winner. Anton could very well have won the race, as the gap between us was tiny and shows the degree of competition at this level of racing.”

Special Stage wins: Sotnikov (4): SS5, SS7, SS8, SS13. Kolomy (3): SS1, SS4, SS11. Mardeev (2): SS9, SS12.

Vladimir Chagin (General Director of the Silk Way Rally): “Thank you all!”

“This Silk Way Rally has once again proved itself worthy of its status as an international sporting event. In each country crossed there were many spectators at the side of the route. The race was even tougher than last year due to the rain that has followed us from Moscow, adding an extra degree of difficulty for the competitors. But nothing stands in the way of sport, courage and passion. I would like to thank all the competitors on this 2017 edition for their determination, that is the mark of all great sportsmen and women. I would also like to thank all the members of the organisation, as well as our partners, without whom this fantastic sporting and human adventure would not exist. Thank you all and see you next year.”

Stage 14:

Due to the storms and heavy showers that have hit the Zhongwei region , the Silk Way Rally’s Race Directors cancelled the 14th Special Stage between Zhongwei and Xi’an, a decision approved of by all the competitors.

All competitors in the race, will therefore leave in liaison, following the assistance route, in order of the overall rankings, for the parc ferme in Xi’an, so as to be able to take part in the finish celebrations and the final podium, which will be held as initially planned.

As the Sporting Stewards have decided to cancel SS14, the results are those of the end of the 13th stage of 21 July 2017.

Cyril Despres and David Castera (Peugeot 3008DKR n°106) in the cars and Dmitry Sotnikov, Ruslan Akhmadeev and Ilnur Mustafin (Kamaz-Master n°303) in the truck class will therefore simply have to reach the parc ferme in Xi’an to be officially declared winners of the 2017 edition of the Silk Way Rally in their respective categories.

Kolomy, in the only Tatra left, came home 11th overall with three stage victories in his bag!

Stage 13:

Sotnikov, finishes on top

While it was almost certain this morning that it would be a Kamaz that would take the final victory on the 2017 Silk Way Rally, it was still unclear who would be on the top step of the podium tomorrow in Xi’an. With just a little over 3 minutes in the lead, Dmitry Sotnikov knew that his leadership was threatened by his young team mate Anton Shibalov. Attacking hard, Shibalov actually took the virtual overall lead at the end of the first special by just 2 seconds, but Sotnikov fought back in the second to actually increase his overall lead to 06:04. The last special tomorrow might be short but it isn’t expected to be easy, so while it would be very unwise to declare Sotnikov the winner, after a shaky start earlier in the day, he is looking marginally more comfortable this evening than he was this morning. Mardeev, 3rd on the special, and overall, led in the Belorussians Viazovich (MAZ n°304) and Vasilevski (MAZ n°309) and the Kazakh Ardavicius. Bad day on the other hand for his team mate Gerard De Rooy (Iveco Powerstar n°302), forced to drive to the bivouac at Zhongwei by tarmac, before the start of the second special, after running into steering problems.

STage 12:


Sotnikov loses power

For the Kamaz-Master armada the objective of this 12th stage was perfectly clear: to counter the charge of Kolomy and his Tatra, that until now was stubbornly holding onto their 3rd place overall. Starting first on the road this morning, after yesterday’s victory, the Czech driver didn’t hold onto the lead for very long. Yet it wasn’t the Kamaz that were the cause of his problems, but like Despres, a problem with his power steering that bought his Tatra Phoenix n°311 to a halt in the middle of the dunes. More than enough to encourage Airat Mardeev (Kamaz-Master n°300) to get on the gas. The winner of the 2016 Silk Way Rally 2016 nevertheless took the time to pull out Sotnikov, his leader, losing power and stuck on the crest of a dune.  At the finish Mardeev takes his 2nd stage win, 2m15s ahead of Shibalov. Coming back respectively to 3m04s and 17m54s to Sotnikov overall, both can still hope for final victory in Xi’An. All of which promises a great battle between team mates tomorrow in the dunes of the Tenger desert, as beautiful as it is redoubtable…

Kolomy would finish last, loosing more than four hours.


Stage 11 – Dunhuang-Jiayuguan: “The fort of the fertile valley” – 783,84 km

Trucks: Kolomy keeps attacking

Driving in tight formation since arriving in China, the Team Kamaz-Master drivers would appear to be managing the race. Not that they would entertain the idea of letting a stage win slip from their grasp without a struggle.

One of the principle actors in the truck race since the first special in Russia, the Czech driver Martin Kolomy and his Tatra Phoenix n°311, knew therefore that he’d have to get on the gas if he wanted to get this 3rd win and defend the third place overall that Airat Mardeev would so like to get his hands on.

Beaten to the line yesterday, after a puncture less than 50 kilometres from the finish, Lady Luck decided to shine on Kolomy a little brighter today. Fighting over mere seconds with the Kamaz-Master of Shibalov and Sotnikov that started just behind him, the Czech driver finally finished 49 seconds ahead of Anton Shibalov. He returned to the third overall spot.

Third on the stage at 1m07s, Dmitry Sotnikov and his new generation Kamaz-Master maintain an almost 15-minute lead overall.

Stage 9 continued:

Loprais retires

After a day off, the Loprais team set off on a stage that contained about 50 km of dune fields. Ales likes the dunes, but this time he entered them with doubts. The first half was successful, the chassis worked great, the Tatra overtook a lot of cars and trucks, but the Tatra was caught by the same problem once more.  The Queen began to boil again, so we were forced to get out of the dunes and continue to the bivouac.

Loprais commented: We are sorry, but the measures we have taken are insufficient. Moreover, it is clear that we will not solve the problem any better and will not look in the dunes in this year’s competition. We cannot risk a more extensive problem. After considering all the possible options, we decided to conclude our participation at this year’s Silk Way rally. We thank everyone for the support, and we believe that we will manage to fine-tune the Queen and eliminate all technical problems and meet you all at the Dakar rally 2018.