Yazeed Al Rajhi and his co-driver, Timo Gottschalk, drove a Mini John Cooper Works Rally to win the 2018 Silk Way Rally in Russia. Their X-Raid teammates, Joan “Nani” Roma and co-driver Alex Haro, in another Mini John Cooper Works Rally, finished the final stage in second place, but were nineteenth in the overall standings. They had been penalized after the rough roads on the first stage aggravated an old injury to Roma, preventing the duo from finishing that stage. Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel finished second overall in a Toyota Hilux.
The third stage was canceled due to torrential rains; the two Minis were among only three cars that were able to complete the stage.
Al Rajhi said, “We are delighted with having won the Silk Way Rally, although it was somewhat shorter than originally scheduled. The event was perfectly organized, and the special stages represented true challenges, while the weather certainly could have been better. We demonstrated that you needn’t 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.”
The rally route, covering a total of 3,569 kilometers, ran seven stages in seven days, beginning in Astrakhan and finishing in Moscow. More information on the rally route and the competitors is available here.—Brian Morgan