Yazeed Al Rajhi leads the MINI charge in third after Stage 8 and 9


MINI All4 Racing’s Yazeed Al Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk took their first win on Stage 8 of the Silk Way Rally.

The Saudi Arabian had every reason to be delighted as the stage was punishing with long grass and harsh tracks, making it a real challenge for the teams and crews.

Al Rajhi said after Stage 8 “It was a difficult stage, very rough, but we push and push. We held a good position from the start to the finish. We attacked and did not stop. But it was very rough and there was a high temperature for the engine in the grass, and the air-conditioning was struggling, so my drinking bottle was emptied very early. So, a good result really.”

Today’s Stage 9 saw Al Rajhi and Gottschalk not having the same fortunes after Stage 8. The pair had a problem locating one of the waypoints, as well as getting stuck due to the nature of the track being very fast and bumpy. However, they managed to complete the leg in fourth, leaving them overall in third place.

His team-mates Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov are now behind Al Rajhi and Gottschalk in fourth, a further forty seconds behind the lead MINI All4 Racing crew.

Britain’s Harry Hunt and Andreas Schulz managed to break into the top five in fifth, whilst Aidyn Rakhimbayev and Anton Nikolaev completed the last of the MINI All4 Racing crews to break into the top six after Stage 9 in sixth place.

Tuesday’s Stage 10 takes the teams and crews go from Hami to Dunhuang in which they will face tracks that are littered with rocks, making it a punishing test for the competitors.