Team Peugeot-Total’s Stéphane Peterhansel leads the Silk Way Rally, ahead of MINI All4 Racing’s Vladimir Vasilyev and his fellow French team-mate Sebastien Loeb.
The first leg of the Silk Way proved to be a real test for the drivers and crews as they faced an eight-hundred and fifty kilometre drive between Moscow’s Olympic Stadium and the Kazan Arena.
While Peterhansel leads the rally coming into Leg Two, his team-mates Loeb and Cyril Despres were in third and sixth place.
Peterhansel said “The official start might have taken place last night, but today witnessed the true start of the rally. The stage was well laid-out and a lot of fun to drive with its jumps, but too short for our liking!
“Although it had been a few weeks since being in the car, we soon settled back into the groove. This short stage was a positive way to begin the event, given that it determined tomorrow’s starting order. We will be running first on the road and with the terrain expected to be muddy, we must treat it with the utmost respect.”
Loeb spoke about the first stage conditions, saying “Set on a beach, today’s test was covered in sand with several bumps and turns. Earlier rain made the sand particularly heavy, so we didn’t take any risks as in those conditions it’s all too easy to end up on your roof! What’s more, our goal was never to be first on the road tomorrow.”
Despres added “After several days in Moscow, the Silk Way Rally is finally underway! We would have liked to be a touch quicker, but we misjudged what the sand would be like. We had expected it to be a bit harder, so we slightly over-inflated the tyres. This short stage was something of a sprint, whereas I’m more of a marathon man…”