American pairing Bryce Menzies and co-driver Peter Mortensen (MINI John Cooper Works Rally #105) drove a superb Leg 7 to take their first leg win in this year’s Silk Way Rally. The result is extra special for the two Americans because this is their first time competing within this prestigious cross-country rally event. The win also means the MINI crew retain the ranking of third place overall.
Today’s win was also the first leg win for MINI at this year’s Silk Way Rally. This result once again proves continual development and refinement of its racing machines while racing within arenas such as the Silk Way Rally pays dividends in results and adds pages to the brand’s rally heritage.
Today’s Leg 7 was the fourth leg in Kazakhstan and took place over a distance of 412.9km, of which 106.6km covered dusty and rocky terrain to form the special stage – and where a fast-paced race took place. It was terrain that particularly appealed to the MINI Family crew from America.
Menzies: “Today was a great day for us. It was a short 106km so we knew we had to push from the beginning – and that is what we did. Navigation was on point and the throttle pedal was to the floor. We are very excited to get our first stage win together as rookies. The MINI John Cooper Works Rally ran really good, flawless. It’s going to be a tough day tomorrow starting out from front. Pete’s got his work cut out but it’s going to be really good.”
Charging equally as hard and determined on Leg 7 was the second MINI John Cooper Works Rally (#101) of Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and Tom Colsoul (BEL). Not only did they have to battle against other competitors, they also had to deal with thick dust thrown up by the cars in front especially over the last quarter of the leg. Although challenging conditions, the duo completed Leg 7 in a creditable sixth place to retain 15th overall.
Colsoul: “The stage started very good. We pushed a bit, not 110%, but we pushed. Navigation was extremely difficult in three or four places but we managed and did really good. 30k before the end we got in the dust of the trucks and it was impossible to get close enough to activate the sentinel, so we had moments of complete blindness and that’s why lost a bit of time.
The Silk Way Rally 2017 competitors and support crews are almost at the border to China, where the Silk Way Rally 2017 finishes in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi Province, 22nd July 2017. Tomorrow’s Leg 8, Karamay – Urumqi, covers a distance of 436.34 km, of which 250.37km is special stage.