Russian Rally Raid Championship, Silk Way 2018: sad retirement

he second day of the Russian Rally Raid Championship round that is held as a part of the international Silk Way marathon brought unpleasant news to everyone who follows the G-Energy Team crew achievements.

Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov went to the start of the second stage (371 kilometers) in a competitive mood. The nature of the road surface was very diverse — dry sandy stretches were replaced by wet ones with puddles and mud. The tactic of “rush from the first kilometers” was justified: the crew was the leader among the national championship participants and made an intense competition to the international crews as on the first day of the race. According to the information from the route, to the mark of 200 kilometers at SS-2 the result shown by Vasilyev/Zhiltsov crew was in the top three of the overall international standings — immediately after such eminent racers as Nasser Al-Attiyah and Nani Roma.

But soon after the pleasant news changed into sad ones: Mini All4Racing rolled over on the track. According to the characteristics of the road from the drivers followed the same route, there was a complex pit in the road book; traveled at high speed it caused a jump of a car with a bounce literally into space. The incident seemed difficult for the organizers, because the car got pretty serious damage — parts of the front suspension were ten meters from the car, so a medical helicopter with an emergency team was urgently sent to the scene of the accident. Fortunately, it turned out that only the vehicle was damaged — the crew was OK. Due to serious damage to the front of the car, the racers could not continue participating in the race.

Let us recall that before the Silk Way rally Vladimir Vasilyev was in the third place in the standings by the number of scored points; he earned these points by taking part in only one race — the victory at Northern Forest Baja 2018 brought the driver 30 points. Only two points separated Vasilyev from the second position where the well-known “classic” rally driver Dmitry Voronov (32 points) settled; the first was Andrey Rudskoy (33 points). It is too early to make forecasts, but it is clear now that at the end of the third Russian Championship round the situation will change significantly, because Dmitry Voronov, showing good speed, is able to consolidate his position with a fair amount of luck, and even remove Rudskoy from the overall leader position.

The G-Energy Team crew plans to continue the struggle in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies; this series is a priority this season. There are four more rounds of the world series ahead; and the struggle that will continue at the next race in Hungary is more and more intriguing — the XV Hungarian Baja will be held from 9 to 12 August.