|Silk Way Rally: More flop then top - less competitors then in 2009 edition.|
The ASO waited with the announcement of the competitors list until 9 days before the race - today we know why. The Silk Way Rally 2009 had 80 competitors - in this year they only have 64: In detail 48 cars and 16 trucks - and the most of them are regional.
With the "Dakar Series" the ASO tried to start several big marathonrallies next to the Dakar. In 2008 with the "Central Europe Rally" they reached the goal with 84 cars, 40 trucks and many motobikes and quads from all over the world.
For the Silk Way Rally 2010 the goals were nearby 100-150 cars and trucks - but the majority of the international competitors is not interested. For example: 14 planes and helicopters are covering the event - this now means one aircraft for 4.5 competitors.
"Over 250 vehicles, including more than 20 trucks from 35 countries will take part in the Silk Way Rally, over half of the participants are foreigners" said director of the project, Semyon Yakubov, on September 1st via "The Voice of Russia". But he added the service cars.
With Volkswagen and Kamaz only two "Big Players" will start in Russia - and with these both teams the winners could be set before the start. Most of the competitors are regional, not international. The other "Big Players" like X-raid BMW, JMB Mitsubishi or Hummer are more interested to test their cars on other events like "Shamrock Rally Morocco" or "Pharaons Rally Egypt".
You can say, the Silk Way 2010 is a big public relations gift for Volkswagen and Kamaz. The "motorsport-fights" will be inside the teams - the real motorsport-fights only in the second league - behind the "Blue Ones".
There could be many reasons for the missing competitors. The starting fees were subsidised and low, but the costs for the logistics extremely. The economy crisis, the timing - and a non-sensual public relation work.
Whatever, the result: In the cars category especially from ASO-homecountry France there are only 2 (!) cars, from Spain (except Carlos Sainz/Volkswagen) 0, from Portugal 0, from Germany 3, from Hungary 1. 30 of the 48 cars are regional - from Russia or direct neighbours. Perfect for a Russian Rally, but not a good sign for an international event - especially when it´s called "Dakar Series".
Dakar-Series normally should be a label for top names and top teams. Ok, some of them are there. In the Trucks (next to the 7 Kamaz), the Spaniard Pep Vila Roca is participating with a De Rooy Iveco and covered by Hugo Duisters in a second Ginaf-Iveco, the German Franz Echter is coming with a "Maurer MAN" and Ales Loprais is piloting a Czech Tatra.
In the cars next to the Volkswagen-crew there will be the local Heroes, FIA-Baja Worldcup winner Boris Gadasin, his team-mate Bogdan Novitskiy (both G-Force Proto), Alexey Berkut (Mitsubishi), Ilya Kuznetsov (Mitsubishi), Alexander Mironenko (Nissan) or Artem Varentsov (Toyota). From outside the only bigger names are the former FIA Winner Christian Lavieille (Nissan Dessoude), the German Matthias Kahle (SMG Buggy) or Raz Heymann (Mitsubishi) from Israel.
But - especially in case of budgets and technical conditions - all will not really have a chance against the "Blue Red Bull Armada" from Volkswagen and Kamaz. If there are no X-raid BMW. No JMB Mitsubishi. No Hummer. No Ginaf, no big MAN-Team. So the Silk Way is a great regional marathonrally - but not a "Dakar Series" as a "Dakar Series" should be.
The reasons for this are not with the organizers - but if they are as big as ASO and partners, they could bring the teams together. Like in 2008. And this is, why we called it "Flop", even if the rally is definetely no-one.
Due to the fact, that in the same time like the "Silk Way" there are great Events like "Balkan Offroad Marathon" (Bulgaria-Greece) and "Australasian Safari" (Australia), marathonrally.com decided, to report from the other rallies - both with passion and chances for all. And simply more press-friendly.
2010/09/02 | 23:37 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS