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Al Attiyah well on course to win Silk Way Rally

Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah

Bengaluru, July 16: The 2019 Silk Way Rally roared back into life on stage eight as the convoy sped over China's Gobi Desert with Overdrive Racing's Qatari driver Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah his French co-driver Mathieu Baumel once again setting the day's fastest time and looking well on course to victory.

As the FIA-sanctioned Silk Way Rally reaches its final stages, the exceptionally consistent performances of three-time Dakar Rally champion Al Attiyah, who is running under the Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa banner, Baumel and their Toyota Hilux have put them in a league of their own.

Hard stage

Hard stage

"A very hard stage, not easy. A lot of dunes, camel grass and the average speed was really slow. We took more than four hours to cover the stage," said Al Attiyah.

Now that dunes are firmly on the agenda, the element of risk has shot up exponentially, a point not lost out on the ace Qatari driver.

"I think the organisation had kept this tough stage up their sleeves until the end. The last two days will be like this as well for sure," said Al Attiyah.

Break in racing

Break in racing

There was no racing as the Silk Way crossed over into China from Mongolia. This break in proceedings gave the competitors a chance to take stock of the situation they found themselves in with Al Attiyah, an accomplished skeet shooter, trying his luck with bow and arrow.

Would they need to attack on the final three stages or could they race tactically to protect their position?

Penultimate stage

Penultimate stage

The penultimate stage takes the Silk Way convoy 290-kilometres across the Gobi Desert. With plenty of sand on the menu expect lots more twists and turns amid the unforgiving Chinese dunes.

Things were turned on their head in the truck race, but there was no such drama in the car class as Al Attiyah holds the edge.

Candidate race

Candidate race

The year's Silk Way Rally is a candidate race for possible future inclusion in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. The event finishes in Dunhuang on July 16.

As the Silk Way Rally reaches its business end, Al Attiyah looks well poised to win his maiden title. But, anything can happen in rally-raid!

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Story first published: Tuesday, July 16, 2019, 11:59 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 16, 2019
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