It may not be Dakar but MINI has won another epic rally in wining the Silk Way Rally 2018. The MINI Family crew of Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-driver Timo Gottschalk (GER) in a MINI John Cooper Works Rally, finished the final stage (Stage 7) in fifth place and in a time that saw their overall time advantage extend to secure first place overall.
Al Rajhi and Gottschalk started Stage 7 with a significant time advantage over their nearest rivals and could afford to set a consistent and safe pace. This strategy paid off and they finally completed the Silk Way Rally with a 1hr 8min lead over the second placed car.
Al Rajhi and Gottschalk along with MINI Motorsport and its motorsport partner X-raid have even greater reason to celebrate their win with the knowledge that the two MINI John Cooper Works Rally entries completed the Russia edition of Silk Way Rally 2018 without any major technical complications.
The second MINI John Cooper Works Rally crew of Joan ‘Nani’ Roma (ESP) and co-driver Alex Haro (ESP) completed today’s Stage 7 in second place, just 2min 24secs behind the eventual stage winner. This result, when added with the crew’s other top five stage finishes, would surely have seen them fighting for the lead if it had not been for an injury to Roma in Stage 1, which forced him to retire from stage; and was awarded a large time penalty for his troubles. For Roma and Haro to complete this edition of Silk Way Rally in 19th place overall can be considered a major achievement.
Al Rajhi: “We are delighted with having won the Silk Way Rally although it was somewhat shorter than originally scheduled. The event was perfectly organised and the special stages represented true challenges, while the weather certainly could have been better. We demonstrated that you needn’t to try to win special stages to win a rally – concentration and consistency also are crucial factors. We found a good rhythm and knew which stages offered us the opportunity to push and gain time and where we should opt for a more conservative approach.”
Roma: “It’s great to be here in Moscow. We drove the last stage very well – again we started from near the front so there were not many lines to cross and we could drive fast. About the result: it was not the one we expected. We expected to fight for the win from start to end – this is always our goal. On the positive side we covered many kilometres and I feel well after that first day and the accident. I must say a big thank you to Alex and the team for all their efforts throughout the race.”