MINI UK Ambassador Harry Hunt has completed the 2016 Silk Way Rally, finishing overall in fourth place for the MINI All4 Racing team.
It was the first time that Hunt had competed in the two-week long Moscow-Beijing marathon. The Brit lost more than 40 minutes at the start, meaning that him and his German co-driver Andreas Schulz had a real fight on their hands.
The Silk Way Rally took competitors 10,000 kilometres from Eastern Russia, Kazakhstan via Northern China, retracing the major Chinese silk routes that were established more than 2000 years ago. There was only one rest day for the whole rally in Almaty, Kazakhstan which meant that the competitors had to battle the elements, as well as searing 50-degree heat in their cars.
Despite having some early struggles in the Silk Way, Hunt and Schulz managed to keep cool heads as the 27 year-old Londoner made steady progress throughout the rally. This was down to the pair’s series of top-three stage finishes which progressed Hunt and Schulz up the leaderboard, even though he had one day where the pair made 20 places to their amazing result of fourth place.
Hunt and Schulz had finished ahead of nine-time World Rally Champions Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena and the 2016 Dakar-winners Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret in the Team Peugeot-Total-run Peugeot 2008 DKR cars.
Hunt said after finishing in the top four at the Silk Way “I actually found it even more difficult than the Dakar.
“There were more challenging obstacles and a really huge variety of roads. I know that Andy found the navigation tricky too, and I’d like to thank him again for getting us round. I’m absolutely delighted with the result; I really could not have asked for more. Before setting off I had fixed myself an objective of finishing in the top five, so to be fourth against such strong competition is just a fantastic bonus.”
Harry also paid tribute to the X-Raid Team, adding “Our MINI showed brilliant reliability from start to finish, and I’d like to thank the X-Raid team for building us a fantastic car and MINI UK for all their support. The fact that there are four MINIs in the top five just goes to show what an amazing team effort this has been on a truly stunning event. I’ve never seen landscapes quite like these ones: it’s been an incredible adventure.”
Harry will now return to London, where he will be finalising the rest of his Cross-Country Rally season, which will include the Rallye du Maroc before the Dakar in January next year.