|Silk Way Rally: Overdrive Team enters two Toyotas in the Silk Way Rally.|
Overdrive Racing has entered a pair of Toyota Hiluxes in the Silk Way Rally, a punishing seven-day cross-country rally across Russia, which starts in Moscow today (Saturday) and finishes in the Black Sea resort of Gelendzhik on Friday, July 13th.
Argentinean driver Lucio Alvarez teams up with co-driver Bernardo Graue to drive the first car and they are top seeds on the Russian event, which has attracted a provisional 91 entrants in the car category.
Alvarez finished a superb second overall in his last outing with the Overdrive team behind Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah in the third round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies in Qatar and he will be looking to build upon that success in the Silk Way event.
The second Overdrive Toyota will be in the hands of French driver Jerome Pelichet and co-driver Xavier Panseri. Pelichet is an Overdrive customer who recently purchased his Toyota and has many years of experience in cross-country racing. He is relishing the challenge of the Silk Way Rally with the Overdrive team.
"It is good to be racing again after a break since the Sealine Cross-Country Rally in Qatar in April," said Overdrive team director Jean-Marc Fortin. "This event will be a good test for the Toyota Hiluxes. For sure, Lucio and Jerome will face some stiff competition. We hope to have a good rally and it will be interesting to see how the race pans out over the next few days."
Both Alvarez and Pelichet face a truly international field in the car category, with other drivers taking part from as far afield as Russia, Turkmenistan, France, Latvia, Germany, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Holland, Poland, Bulgaria, Chile, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Finland.
Amongst the Overdrive team’s main rivals for outright success will be twice Dakar champion Jean-Louis Schlesser in his Sonangol Buggy, FIA World Cup front-runner Boris Gadasin, the rapid German Matthias Kahle, the experienced Frenchman Christian Laveille and former Finnish WRC star Toni Gardemeister.
The Overdrive Racing Toyotas were built in South Africa in conjunction with Toyota Motorsport South Africa and Hallspeed and are powered by the 4.6-litre V8 engine that conforms to the latest FIA regulations. Overdrive is based at Villers-le-Bouillet, near Huy in Belgium.
Today (Saturday) teams complete registration and documentation and take part in a presentation ceremony in Moscow’s Red Square, before embarking upon a 184.85 road liaison section to the overnight halt in Ryazan.
The first competitive 258km selective section takes place between Ryazan and Volgograd on Sunday and is followed by a 309km stage, looping out of Volgograd on Monday, July 9th.
Action heads towards Elista on Tuesday (July 10th) with a 488km special that includes a stretch of sand dunes, the crossing of the famous steppes of Khazar and more off-track action. The longest stage of the entire event – a daunting 506km loop around Elista – takes place on Wednesday, July 11th.
The 453km fifth special takes crews from Elista to Maykop on Thursday, July 12th and two shorter special stages of 60km and 9km round off the competitive action between Maykop and the finish in Gelendzhik on Friday, July 13th. In a total route of approximately 3,859km, 2,083km are competitive.
2012/07/07 | 13:47 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS