Isuzu Motorsports team up for the transcontinental test of the Silk Way Rally

The Isuzu Motorsports team will soon depart for Moscow to contest the Silk Way Rally, which will put their new Isuzu D-MAX to the ultimate test over 10,000 kilometres and 15 stages of tough terrain spanning from Russia to China on July 8 to 24.

It is the latest challenge for Western Australian driver Adrian Di Lallo and co-driver Harry Suzuki (NSW), who have taken on some of the world’s toughest off-road rallies including the Dakar and the China Grand Rally.

In car number 134, the Isuzu Motorsports team will compete for top honours in the ‘T2’ Production Class. Unlike the ‘T1’ class where vehicles are heavily modified and often have little in common with their daily driven counterparts, the ‘T2’ class permits only safety and basic modifications – making Isuzu Motorsports’ competition vehicle similar to the ones available to purchase at a dealership.

Despite its minimum modifications, Di Lallo is confident the brand new 120kw truck tough Isuzu D-MAX is up to the task.

“I’m really looking forward to the challenge of the Silk Way Rally,” said Di Lallo.
“I am expecting the terrain, much of it unchartered, to be tough. I’ve never been to Russia before, so I’m excited about the ceremonial start in Moscow at the Red Square.

“I’m expecting that some stages in Russia to be quite fast forest rally roads, in Kazakhstan desert and mountainous ranges, and I’m expecting major sand dunes in the north of China.

“Our D-MAX is like the ones you can buy from the showroom floor. However, it has been modified for safety in accordance with the rally regulations – beefed up suspension, regulation brakes, and the addition of a safety roll cage, harness and seats. “At this stage I’ve done all the physical training I can do. I’ve concentrated on my fitness and my core strength for endurance. Now it is about the mental preparation, going into the event feeling relaxed and focussed.

“It’s a marathon rally raid event and we’re going to be treat it as such, pushing while being mindful that we need to preserve the car.

“I have every confidence in our team, in the car and in the Isuzu product. I’m excited and can’t wait to get going.”

Di Lallo and Suzuki will join approximately 130 other vehicles for the sixth edition of the rally raid event, which will depart Moscow’s iconic Red Square on the 8 July, loosely following the historic Silk Road trade route linking Russia, Kazakhstan and China.

Competitors will spend 15 days of racing through Russian Kazakhs and Chinese landscapes with stages taking them through forgotten towns and over some unhospitable terrain such as deserts, mountain passes and vast steppes. The lucky few to overcome the challenges in extreme conditions will arrive to a hero’s welcome at the Chinese capital in Beijing on the 24 July, past the Great Wall and Tiananmen Square.

The Silk Way Rally has become a major event in the International Cross-Country Rally calendar. The rally is organised by Vladimir Chagrin, a legend of the Dakar Rally, winning it seven times and holding an impressive record of 63 Dakar leg victories.

The adventure and challenge of the Silk Way rally has also attracted an impressive array of racing ‘celebrities’, including multiple Dakar winners Stėphane “Mr Dakar” Peterhansel (12 times) and Cyril Despres (5 times), and seven-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb.

Constructors such as Peugeot, Toyota and Ford and Europe’s best privateer teams will battle for rally-raid glory in the car category. Kamaz-Master will be the target of all the other big-rig crew, led most notably by Renault Trucks in its quest for yet another triumph in the class of the behemoths.

The Silk Way Rally starts in Moscow on 8 July and finishes in Beijing on 24 July. Competitors will travel 10,000km including 4,200km of special stages through three countries - Russia, Kazakhstan, China, over 15 days.

The Silk Way Rally starts in Moscow on 8 July and finishes in Beijing on 24 July. Competitors will travel 10,000km including 4,200km of special stages through three countries - Russia, Kazakhstan, China, over 15 days.

Sunday, July 10, 2016
Silk Way Rally: Leg One (Prologue)

Silk Way Rally begins with a race to the start line for Isuzu Motorsports team

The Isuzu Motorsports team are off to a promising start in the Silk Way Rally, with Adrian Di Lallo and Harry Suzuki successfully putting their Isuzu D-MAX through its paces during the Prologue to finish fifth in the T2 Production Dieselclass.

After the Ceremonial Start held in Russia’s iconic Red Square, the team’s brand new Turbo Diesel Isuzu D-Max was trucked to the Prologue’s Special Stage in Kazan, Russia – almost 14 hours away from their starting destination in Moscow.

Held in an arena, the Prologue was a short 2km blast along sand tracks, which saw competitors needing to be mindful of ruts and jumps. The results determined the starting order for Leg 2, with Isuzu Motorsports team posting a time that would see them be the 69th car off the start line the next morning.

Reaching the start line felt like an achievement in itself for the team, due to themajor logistical dramas they experienced earlier in the week when their service truck’s container missed its transhipment, ending up in Italy instead of Russia.

“The adversity we have faced over the past week in clearing and transporting our gear has restored my faith in mankind,” said Di Lallo. “So many strangers have so kindly assisted us and I am eternally grateful to all of them.”

“Our service truck and gear left Gioia Tauro Italy by truck last Saturday. It then crossed through Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia where it was held up for 11 hours. When it reached the border to Russia it was held a further twelve hours until a special phone call was made to the Kremlin. It then reached us at Luzniki Stadium in Moscow without a moment to spare!

"I feel like we have already won the race by getting to the start, so hopefully we can now settle in and enjoy a relatively trouble free race. In theory we should now be in huge credit with the Rally Gods.”

Team Peugeot Total driver and Dakar legend Stephane Peterhansel posted the fastest Prologue stage time, and will start first on Leg 2, which will take competitors on a 626.66km journey to Ufa, Russia.

Competitors have been warned to expect the terrain on Leg 2to be slippery after recent rains, but the Isuzu Motorsports team are confident the smooth power delivery of the D-MAX’s turbo diesel engine will ensure they stay on track.

Amongst the colourful red livery on Isuzu D-MAX the team is sporting ‘Morgan’s Forever’ stickers which is to keep the memory alive of a young friend of the team who passed away suddenly.

For a full listing of Leg 1’s results and live tracking of the race please see:
http://www.silkwayrally.com/fr/results/

Follow Isuzu Motorsports on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IsuzuMotorsports

Monday, July 11, 2016
Silk Way Rally: Leg Two, Kazan to Ufa

Silk Way Rally Stage 2 cancelled due to weather

The competitive element of the Silk Way Rally’s Leg 2 was cancelled yesterday due to continuing inclement weather, which prevented organisers from being able to put the safety helicopter in the air.

The Isuzu Motorsports team instead transported their D-MAX on the 557km journey from Kazan to Ufa, where they experienced a warm welcome from the residents of Naberezhyne Chelny - home of Kamaz Trucks, who had formed a crowd to meet the competitors.

Tomorrow the team will leave the vehicle manufacturing metropolis of Ufa and make the 815km journey to cross into Kazhakastan, where they will spend the night at a bivouac set-up in Kostanay. The 271km gravel terrain on Leg 3’s competitive stage is said to be a challenging route for navigators.

For a full listing of results and live tracking of the race please see:
http://www.silkwayrally.com/fr/results/

Follow Isuzu Motorsports on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IsuzuMotorsports

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Silk Road Rally
Day 3

Dust doesn’t stop Isuzu Motorsports climb to the top

Leg 3: Ufa (Russia) – Kostanay (Kazakhstan)
Liaison, 815.15kms; stage 200.43kms.

Isuzu Motorsports have broken through the dust trail on Leg 3 of the Silk Way Rally, and have quickly climbed the leaderboard to be leading the T2 Production Diesel class and sitting second overall in the T2 Production category.

This great result for the team did not come easy, with Adrian Di Lallo and Harry Suzuki having to guide the D-MAX through the 200km competitive course mostly blind due to the persistent dust.

“It was a tough day,” said Di Lallo. “Due to being cautious at the Prologue, we spent most of the day stuck in the dust after starting well back in the field.

“We managed to pass several cars but because of the poor visibility we found it difficult to get a clean run, and as a result emerged from the stage a little battered after an off-road excursion.

“Nonetheless we will go into tomorrow’s stage leading the T2 Diesel class by just seconds. The plan is to set a steady pace in readiness for the monstrous stages that await.”

The T2 Production category only permits light modifications to the vehicles, which sees the team’s 2016 Isuzu D-MAX very similar to the version available for sale to the public.

The team started the day in 63rd place overall from 102 starters, and crossed the finish line in 36th position.

There was a leadership change in the overall standings, with Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret suffering two punctures which saw them drop to 8th position overall. It was former Dakar Moto rider Cyril Depres and co-driver David Casterawho set the fastest stage time, which saw them take the rally’s lead.

Organisers warn crews that today’s Leg 4’s 345km competitive course features ditches and ruts, ensuring the team’s co-drivers will be kept busy. The total distance of the Leg equals just over 855kms, and will take competitors further into Kazakhstan, with the day’s liaison concluding in the capital city of Astana.

Partial General Classification Results

2016 Silk Road Rally – Stage results for SS3 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 1h56m45s
2 AL RAHJI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 1h59m25s
3 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 2h00m59s
4 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 2h02m00s
5 FIRSOV Evgeny (RUS) / FILATOV Vadim (RUS) Toyota Pickup 2h03m22s
6 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 2h04m20s
7 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 2h04m20s
8 PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET Jean-Paul (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR 2h05m45s
39 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 2h25m53s

Silk Road Rally – overall positions after SS3 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 1h58m24s
2 AL RAHJI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 2h01m01s
3 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 2h02m34s
4 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 2h03m35s
5 FIRSOV Evgeny (RUS) / FILATOV Vadim (RUS) Toyota Pickup  2h05m04s
6 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 2h06m01s
7 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 2h06m02s
8PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET Jean-Paul (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR 2h07m16s
36DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max2h28m16s

Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Silk Way Rally
Day 4

Silk Way Rally competitors battle a slippery Leg Four

Leg 4: Kostanay (Kazahistan) – Astana (Kazakhistan)
Liaison, 632kms; stage 223km (reduced).

The 855km journey to Kazakhistan’s capital city Kostanay was not an easy one for any of the teams in the Silk Way Rally - heavy rains turned the dirt tracks to mud, and an impassable bridge crossing caused officials to shorten the stage.

The Isuzu Motorsports team slipped down four spots in the overall rankings to finish the day in 40th position, which was unsurprising given what a difficult day it was for all teams.

The previous day’s overall leaders Cyril Depres and David Castera also slipped down four spots after they hit a block of cement in tall grass, which forced them to slow down.

Stephane Peterhansel was grateful to be further down in the pack due to the cars in front of him clearing the way - he set the fastest time and returned to the top of the leaderboard.

“It rained during the first 60kms making the tracks very slippery and there was a lot of mud,” said Peterhansel. “The three cars at the front provided a clear track to follow. There were sections where we were running at 185kph, which in my opinion is perhaps too fast. But overall it was a nice stage and a lot fun to drive. But it will be difficult for me tomorrow, because I will be first to start in the longest stage of the rally.”

In the T2 Production category, the Isuzu Motorsports team just missed out on a Top 3 placing. They now sit 13min 45sec behind the category’s front runners Aleksandr Terentiev and co-driver Alexey Berkut,who experienced their second stage win of the rally. The Isuzu Motorsports team were uncontactable for comment on the Leg, but they are no doubt focused on today’s marathon Leg 5, which at 568kms is the longest competitive stage of the event.

Leg 5 takes competitors from Astana to Balkhash near the border of Kyrgyzstan, and past one of Asia’s largest lakes, Lake Balkhash. It is also expected to be another stage which competitors will battle to find grip amongst the mud and water as they navigate their way through water-crossings.

Partial General Classification Results

2016 Silk Road Rally – Stage results for SS4 (Cars):

1 PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET Jean-Paul (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR 1h57m58s
2VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing2h04m20s
3LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR2h05m31s
4RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing2h06m05s
5JEFFERIES Damen Scot (USA) / EDDY JR Max Brian (USA) Jefferies Buggy2h07m18s
6Miao (CHN) / LIAO Min (CHN) Nissan Pathfinder2h08m06s
7WANG Hai (CHN) / WU Dajun (CHN) Panda MRP112h10m12s
8FIRSOV Evgeny (RUS) / FILATOV Vadim (RUS) Toyota Pickup2h10m22s
46DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 2h30m51s

Silk Road Rally – overall positions after SS4 (Cars):

1 PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET Jean-Paul (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR 4h05m14s
2VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing4h07m55s
3LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR4h08m05s
4RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing4h09m13s
5JEFFERIES Damen Scot (USA) / EDDY JR Max Brian (USA) Jefferies Buggy4h12m06s
6Miao (CHN) / LIAO Min (CHN) Nissan Pathfinder4h12m35s
7WANG Hai (CHN) / WU Dajun (CHN) Panda MRP114h15m26s
8FIRSOV Evgeny (RUS) / FILATOV Vadim (RUS) Toyota Pickup4h22m56s
46DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 4h59m07s

Thursday, 14 July 2016
Silk Way Rally
Day 5

Silk Way Rally marathon stage takes its toll on the field

Leg 5: Astana (Kazakhstan) – Balkhash (Kazakhstan)
Liaison, 820.75km; stage 568.24km

The fifth day of the Silk Way Rally was a picturesque one, as competitors passed by one of Asia’s biggest lakes – Lake Balkhash, but despite the stunning scenery the marathon stage of 568km was gruelling with mud and hidden rocks.

The trials of the course took its toll on many competitors and their vehicles, with 12 less cars crossing the stage’s finishing line than the previous day.

Isuzu Motorsports team (Isuzu D-MAX; Car 134) crossed the finish line in 49th place overall, but the stage didn’t go fully to plan for Di Lallo and Suzuki.

“Our strategy was to pace ourselves until we felt we had burnt off enough of our fuel load, and then push for a better position,” said Di Lallo. “It was at approximately 350 kilometres in when we decided to up the pace - for a while this was working well and we were passing cars.”

“Unfortunately my concentration lapsed at about 380 kilometres in, and we slipped into a very deep, muddy truck trench.

“We thought it would be a quick fix to free ourselves from being bogged, but we then experienced problems with our jack which took an hour to fix. Luckily, after we fixed the jack a friendly truck competitor helped pull us out of the mud.

“Once we were back on track, we then found ourselves stuck in the dust of the competitors we had worked to pass before, which was frustrating.

“Our spirits are still high though - we are in this for the long game! T2 will be a race to the finish and there is still a long way to go. We won’t catch up all the lost time in one day, but we’ll continue to chip away at it in the remaining stages.

“Anything can still happen, especially in the next stage’s ‘dunes of no return’.”

The Isuzu Motorsports team currently sit in 8th position out of the 12 T2 competitors who remain. The team will have 2 hours and 18 minutes to make-up if they want to catch category leader Akira Miura and co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter.

One of the cars not being able to finish the stage was the Peugeot of Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Coffret who sustained major front-end damage when the vehicle rolled multiple times at 416 kilometres into stage. Fortunately, no one was injured and the team are working to repair the vehicle for Leg 6.

Cyril Depres and David Castera remain as the outright leaders, and will start Leg 6 with a lead of almost 15 minutes over Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena.

Leg 6 will be another marathon, comprising of two timed sectors of 111km and 224km. This stage will see competitors leave the mud and head for the sand, with sandy tracks and small dunes. The goal will be to reach Almaty, which is Kazakhstan’s largest city and set in the foothills of the Trans-Illi Alatau Mountains, it also marks the half way point in the rally.

Partial General Classification Results

2016 Silk Road Rally – Stage results for SS5 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 5h37m52s
2 AL RAHJI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 5h49m08s
3 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 5h51m03s
4 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 5h51m23s
5 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 5h53m22s
6 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 5h54m26s
7 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 5h54m30s
8 SAZONOV Yuriy (KAZ) / TSYRO Dmytro (KAZ) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 6h01m32s
73 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 8h53m58s

Silk Road Rally – overall positions after SS5 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 9h47m05s
2 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 10h01m27s
3 AL RAHJI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 10h01m43s
4 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 10h02m21s
5 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 10h03m09s
6 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 10h22m46s
7 FIRSOV Evgeny (RUS) / FILATOV Vadim (RUS) Toyota Pickup Trac 10h24m55s
8 SAZONOV Yuriy (KAZ) / TSYRO Dmytro (KAZ) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 10h34m50s
49 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 13h53m05s

Friday, 15 July 2016
Silk Way Rally
Day 6

Silk Way Rally competitors find their way out of the mud and into the dunes

Leg 6: Balkhash (Kazakhstan) – Almaty (Kazakhstan)
Liaison, 678kms; stage 111kms (reduced)

Leg 6 saw Silk Way Rally competitors leave behind the muddy terrain of the Seven Rivers Lake area and head for Almaty, with the reward of a well-earned day’s rest once they crossed the finish line – but first they had to push through 789 kilometres of sandy dunesdotted with jaggered rocks.

The Isuzu Motorsports team of Adrian Di Lallo and Harry Suzuki(Car 134; Isuzu D-MAX) were focussed on reclaiming some of the time lost from the previous day, and by finishing the stage with the second fastest time in the T2 Production category they were successful in their goal.

“We had a good clean run and the car ran faultlessly in extremely harsh conditions,” said Di Lallo. “The track was rough, and mostly comprised of heavy sand skirting the salt pans.

“I think we managed to gain back some of yesterday’s deficit and put ourselves in a good positon to start the second stage of the leg, but unfortunately it had been cancelled.”

The second stage of the leg was cancelled due to a storm warning which would prevent the safety helicopter being able to take to the air.

Aleksandr Terentiev and co-driver Alexy Bekrut continue to lead the T2 category, almost two hours in front of the Isuzu Motorsports team.

It was Americans Damen Scot Jefferies and Max Eddy Jnr in their homemade Jefferies Buggy who set the fastest time on the reduced stage. They kept a minute and a half ahead of Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret, who also recovered from a disastrous previous Leg.

Cyril Depres and David Castera continue to command the rally as outright leaders, with a gap of 8 minutes between themselves and the duo of Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena.

Today is a rest day for competitors – although it is a rest day only in name, as many competitors including the Isuzu Motorsports team will be working hard to prepare their vehicles for the remaining nine legs and almost 6,000 kms.

For a full listing of results and live tracking of the race please see: http://www.silkwayrally.com/fr/results/

Follow Isuzu Motorsports on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IsuzuMotorsports

Partial General Classification Results

2016 Silk Road Rally – Stage results for SS6 (Cars):

1 JEFFERIES Damen Scot (USA) / EDDY JR Max Brian (USA) Jefferies Buggy 1h11m22s
2 PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET Jean-Paul (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR 1h12m50s
3 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 1h13m08s
4 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 1h14m04s
5 FIRSOV Evgeny (RUS) / FILATOV Vadim (RUS) Toyota Pickup Track 1h14m37s
6 ISSABAYEV Bauyrzhan (KAZ) / DEMAYANENKO Vladimir (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 1h15m54s
7 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 1h16m42s
8 SAZONOV Yuriy (KAZ) / TSYRO Dmytro (KAZ) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 1h17m19s
47 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 1h39m02s

Silk Road Rally – overall positions after SS6 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 11h06m35s
2 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 11h14m35s
3 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 11h16m25s
4 AL RAHJI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 11h19m25s
5 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 11h21m33s
6 FIRSOV Evgeny (RUS) / FILATOV Vadim (RUS) Toyota Pickup Track 11h39m32s
7 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 11h40m48s
8 SAZONOV Yuriy (KAZ) / TSYRO Dmytro (KAZ) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 11h52m09s
47 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 15h32m07s

Saturday, 16 July 2016
Silk Way Rally
Day 7

Rest day a day of preparation and reflection for Isuzu Motorsports

Day 7: Rest Day

Day 7 of the Silk Way Rally was a rest day for competitors, but only in name as they worked hard on their vehicles in preparation for tackling the 6,000kms of harsh mountainous and desert terrain that stands in between them and the finish line in Beijing.

After completing the previous day’s shortened stage, the Isuzu Motorsports team arrived at the bivouac set-up in Almaty Kazakhstan, and set about thoroughly checking over and cleaning the 2016 diesel Isuzu DMAX in the shadow stunning Tian Mountain range. Team driver Adrian Di Lallo and co-driver Harry Suzuki also used the rest day to reflect on how far they had come, and to mentally prepare for the remaining nine legs.

“I enjoy the challenge of competing in the T2 production category, especially in a car that isn’t a traditional-style rally raid vehicle such as the Isuzu DMAX,” said driver Adrian Di Lallo.

“The DMAX is what we call in Australia a workhorse, it is designed for a utilitarian purpose and not the type of vehicle people would normally associate as one you would take on a race like the Silk Way Rally – let alone be able to achieve competitive stage times with!

“But the DMAX is handling the extreme conditions and tough terrain incredibly well. It is proving itself as a super tough, robust and surprisingly fast vehicle. The drivetrain has proven to be powerful, reliable and faultless, and we are needing to do very little maintenance to the car. We are impressed!”

The next leg of the rally will see the team compete in a short 76.86km stage close to the Tian Mountains, before saying goodbye to Kazakhstan and crossing into China.

Going into the final half of the rally, Car 134 of Isuzu Motorsports currently sits in 46th place outright. In the T2 Production category for vehicles that are only lightly modified, the team occupies 7th place out of the remaining 14 vehicles in the category, with a two hour deficit to the category leader Aleksandr Terentiev and co-driver Alexey Berkut.

“Even though we think we might be at a slight disadvantage when it comes time to take on the incredibly tough dunes of China, I am very confident that the DMAX has what it takes to reach the finish of this amazing event,” said Di Lallo.

“We are focused on being able to produce a class result for Isuzu, and I always feel honoured to drive their incredible machines.”

Silk Way Rally Ambassador and Sporting Consultant Luc Alphand says that competitors will need to ensure they keep their focus throughout the remaining legs in order to be successful.

“The first week of the race has already been very interesting,” said Alphand. “The particularly demanding navigation in Russia and Kazakhstan played an important role.

“As expected, the Peugeot DKR2008s dominated the early part of the rally, but the MINI ALL4 Racing entries are still in contention.

“Stage 5 between Astana and Balkhash, the longest of the rally claimed its first major victim, pre-rally favourite, Stéphane Peterhansel. With two cars at the top of the order, Peugeot cannot afford another error.

“The Chinese portion of the rally promises to be exciting. There will be dunes, sand and navigation and it will be a battle just to the finish line.”

By the time competitors cross the finish line in Beijing China on July 24, they will have completed 10,000kms and crossed three countries.

For a full listing of results and live tracking of the race please see:
http://www.silkwayrally.com/fr/results/
Follow Isuzu Motorsports on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IsuzuMotorsports

Sunday, 16 July 2016
Silk Way Rally
Day 8

Isuzu Motorsports team continue their forward push to the Silk Way Rally’s finish line

Leg 7: Almaty (Kazakhstan) – Bortala (China)
Liaison, 419.20kms; stage 76.86kms

Silk Way Rally competitors said goodbye to Kazakhstan with a short yet incredibly challenging stage in and around Tian Mountain range, before crossing the border into China.

The stage was held on high-mountainous plains, and saw the Isuzu Motorsports production-spec Isuzu DMAX (Car 134) subjected to rock ridden, extremely testing terrain, which team driver Adrian Di Lallo said the vehicle handled without incident.

“Today’s special called for much discretion, and definitely wasn’t a stage to be racing against the clock,” said Di Lallo.

“The stage wound its way up 2,000 metres above sea-level, over and through a mountain range, following along what could be best describe as a mountain goat track.

“The track was rough and heavily rutted with huge drop offs, and was better suited to a Kamaz truck than a leaf spring ute.

“Definitely not my favourite type of stage - but hey, we are still in the game and the welder won’t be going anywhere near the mighty DMAX tonight!”

Di Lallo’s and co-driver Harry Suzuki’s steady, cautious approach saw the team finish the day two positions ahead of their Leg 6 results in the outright standings – with Car 134 of Isuzu Motorsports now occupying position 44.

Cyril Despres and co-driver David Castera are still at the top of the outright leader board. However, with less than half an hour separating the Top 5 the Peugeot team will have no room for error.

In the T2 Production category, it was the Kazakh duo of Denis Berezovsky and Roman Elagin who set the fastest stage time. Di Lallo and Suzuki crossed the finish line in sixth place, 16 minutes after Berezovsky and Elagin.

Today will be a long day behind the wheel for Silk Way Rally competitors, with a 648.42km liaison and 256.93km special stage. The rally will go through the Junggar Basin, an area known for its dryness and extreme temperatures, to then follow a fast winding track on a fault line, before competitors take to the sand in a sprint to the bivouac in Urumqi.

For a full listing of results and live tracking of the race please see:
http://www.silkwayrally.com/fr/results/
Follow Isuzu Motorsports on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IsuzuMotorsports

Partial General Classification Results

2016 Silk Road Rally – Stage results for SS7 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 1h02m44s
2 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 1h05m30s
3 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 1h06m54s
4 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 1h07m43s
5 MA Miao (CHN) / LIAO Min (CHN) Nissan Pathfinder 1h08m26s
6 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 1h09m08s
7 CHEN Feng (CHN) / XING Xinjian (CHN) Panda MRP11 1h09m40s
8 AL RAHJI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 1h09m55s
69 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 1h36m06s

Silk Road Rally – overall positions after SS7 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 12h09m19s
2 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 12h20m05s
3 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 12h23m19s
4 AL RAHJI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 12h29m20s
5 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 12h30m41s
6 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 12h53m52s
7 FIRSOV Evgeny (RUS) / FILATOV Vadim (RUS) Toyota Pickup Track 12h55m37s
8 SAZONOV Yuriy (KAZ) / TSYRO Dmytro (KAZ) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 13h04m52s
44 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 17h10m13s

Monday, 18 July 2016
Silk Way Rally
Day 9

Isuzu Motorsports conquer the Silk Way Rally’s longest day

Leg 8: Bortala (China) –Urumqi (China)
Liaison, 648.42km; stage 256.93kms.

The first special stage held in China was an extremely tough one for Silk Way Rally competitors, but the Isuzu Motorsports team of Adrian Di Lallo and co-driver Harry Suzuki managed to get their production-spec DMAX through the 256km special stage unscathed.

Leg 8 also featured the longest day’s travel of the event, with competitors having travelled 905km by the time they reached the bivouac in Urumqi.

The team applied a cautious approach to the stage which paid off, seeing them finish the stage third in the T2 Production category, 1hr and 20min behind category winners Denis Berezovskiy and IgnatFalkov.

“It was a very tough stage which claimed many competitors but the DMAX didn’t skip a beat!” said Di Lallo.

“This was great for our guys as many crews worked through the night and were continuing working on their cars when we left the bivouac this morning.

“The stage was reminiscent of a typical Dakar stage with everything! It started in heavily rutted deep sand tracks and transitioned into fast tracks, before moving into steep dunes for the mid-section, and finishing off with a nice helping of feshfesh.

“Of course the DMAX loved it, but we still used great restraint and discretion to preserve the car. It’s a difficult task to quieten the ‘racer within’ but completing the event has always been a top priority for the team.”

In the outright standings, the Isuzu Motorsports team now have moved into 40th place.

The stage was won by Yazeed Al Rahji and Timo Gottschalk in the MINI ALL4 Racing. Al Rahji was surprised by the win, saying he thought the stage was better suited to buggies.

The outright leadership remains unchanged, with Cyril Depres and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret still in first place, and Sebastien Loeb and David Elena still in second, 6mins behind.

The next leg sees teams journey from Urumqi to Hami, through the Turfan Basin which is known to get to 60 degrees Celsius. The 384km stage is comprised of all desert terrain, with an impressive wall of dunes to conquer from the start line. 

For a full listing of results and live tracking of the race please see:
http://www.silkwayrally.com/fr/results/
Follow Isuzu Motorsports on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IsuzuMotorsports

Partial General Classification Results

2016 Silk Way Rally – Stage results for SS8 (Cars):

1 AL RAJHI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h10m24s
2 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 3h10m55s
3 PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET Jean-Paul (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR 3h11m19s
4 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 3h14m43s
5 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h15m33s
6 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h17m34s
7 ISSABAYEV Bauyrzhan (KAZ) / DEMAYANENKO Vladimir (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h24m21s
8 SAZONOV Yuriy (KAZ) / TSYRO Dmytro (KAZ) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 3h27m02s
39 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 5h28m30s

2016 Silk Way Rally – overall positions after SS8 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 15h24m02s
2 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 15h31m00s
3 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 15h38m52s
4 AL RAJHI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 15h39m44s
5 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 16h01m33s
6 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 16h26m06s
7 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 16h28m04s
8 SAZONOV Yuriy (KAZ) / TSYRO Dmytro (KAZ) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 16h31m54s
40 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 22h38m43s

Tuesday, 19 July 2016
Silk Way Rally
Day 10

Isuzu Motorsports gets through ‘hellish’ day at Silk Way Rally

Leg 9: Urumqi (China) –Hami (China)
Liaison,384.40kms; stage335.15km.

Silk Way Rally competitors could be forgiven for thinking they had entered hell on Leg 9, with competitors navigating their way through extremely difficult desert terrain in searing 55° Celsius heat.

Adrian Di Lallo and Harry Suzuki of Isuzu Motorsports (car 134) continued to apply a cautious strategy, and as a result they were able to finish the extreme 335km special stage which saw the retirement of at least five teams.

“The stage started directly at the foot of a gnarly dune that extended for approximately 30kms,” said Di Lallo. 

“Although we had to throw the DMAX in hard due to the body clearance and overhang, it handled the steep dunes with a relative ease that put much fancier, purpose built race cars to shame.

“After the dune crossing was complete, the remainder of the 290km special was on what I can only describe as the track from hell! It was so rutted that we struggled to get past third gear for the last half of the stage.

“The stage took many casualties – there were at least two rollovers that we saw.

“Our caution obviously cost us some time but was all in aid of preserving the condition of the car.”

Although Di Lallo and Suzuki’s approach may have cost them time, it certainly didn’t cost them position in the outright standings, with the team jumping up nine positions after the stage to finish the day in 31st. 

Cyril Depres and David Castera again continue their almost flawless run, pushing their outright lead to 12mins 17secs. Despite having some difficulty on the stage, after becoming bogged in the sand for a short time, Sebastien Loeb and David Elena continue to occupy second-place. 

The T2 Production category standings remain unchanged, with Isuzu Motorsports still occupying fourth place – 4hrs 18mins behind current category leaders Akira Miura and co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter.

Competitors need to brace themselves for another hard long day, with Leg 10 offering no reprieve from the extreme terrain and harsh heat. The 340km special stage will be held at a peak altitude of 2,000 metres above sea level and features dirt tracks, wadi crossings and canyons.

For a full listing of results and live tracking of the race please see:
http://www.silkwayrally.com/fr/results/
Follow Isuzu Motorsports on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IsuzuMotorsports

Partial General Classification Results (as of 18/7/16, 9:07pm) 

2016 Silk Way Rally – Stage results for SS9 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 3h38m42s
2 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 3h44m01s
3 PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET Jean-Paul (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR 3h47m11s
4 AL RAJHI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h50m22s
5 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h54m25s
6 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 4h04m17s
7 PELICHET Jérôme (FRA) / DECRE Eugenie (FRA) Toyota Hilux 4h14m21s
8 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 4h16m32s
35 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 6h51m58s

2016 Silk Way Rally – overall positions after Leg 9 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 19h02m44s
2 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 19h15m01s
3 AL RAJHI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 19h30m06s
4 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 19h43m09s
5 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 20h22m29s
6 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 20h25m42s
7 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 20h42m38s
8 ISSABAYEV Bauyrzhan (KAZ) / DEMAYANENKO Vladimir (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 21h04m32s
31 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 29h30m41s

Wednesday, 20 July 2016
Silk Way Rally
Day 11

Isuzu Motorsport continue their trouble free run at Silk Way Rally

Leg 10: Hami (China) – Dunhuang (China)
Liaison, 184.84kms; stage 340.40kms.

The Isuzu Motorsports team have conquered another incredibly tough stage on the Silk Way Rally, which challenged both the physical stamina of the team and the durability of their production-spec DMAX.

Once again competitors felt the full-force of the desert heat – making it difficult to retain focus on the tricky 340km special stage in the Hami Basin. Despite all the challenges thrown at them on Leg 10, Adrian Di Lallo and Harry Suzuki completed the stage third fastest in the T2 Production class. 

“We had a reasonably trouble free run on the 340km special,” said Di Lallo.

“The stage started off with nice fast flowing rally type roads, which gave us a false sense of security that it was going to be an easy day – oh how wrong we were!

“Those nice easy roads soon transitioned into heavily rutted tracks, with many gutters and unscripted cautions. The powerline track that came after was much of the same – full of gutters and ‘whoops’ moments.

“We were caught out with some tricky navigation in heavy breakaway country, along with several other competitors – but it didn’t take long before we realised our error.

“The last part of the stage we were back to those lovely rally type roads, which of course we loved!”

The team finished the stage just under 40 minutes behind T2 stage time leaders Akira Miura and co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter, who are also leading the T2 category outright.

Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret have bounced back after a series of mishaps to claim the stage win, with Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena only 1min 15sec behind.

The outright standings remain unchanged with the 2008 Peugeot Dakar vehicles still on top of the leaderboard - Cyril Despres and David Castera in first, and Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena almost 2 minutes behind in second.

Today’s 330km Special Stage 11 has been cancelled due to a sandstorm preventing the event’s safety aircraft from being able to fly. Isuzu Motorsports will join other Silk Way Rally competitors travelling in convoy from Dunhuang to Jiayuguan.

With the cancellation of today’s stage, there are just four stages remaining until Silk Way Rally competitors reach the final finish in Beijing, China on July 24. 

For a full listing of results and live tracking of the race please see:
http://www.silkwayrally.com/fr/results/
Follow Isuzu Motorsports on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IsuzuMotorsports

Partial General Classification Results (as of 19/7/16, 5:57pm)

2016 Silk Way Rally – Stage results for SS9 (Cars):

1 PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET Jean-Paul (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR 3h18m49s
2 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 3h20m04s
3 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h21m52s
4 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 3h22m24s
5 AL RAJHI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h23m02s
6 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h27m45s
7 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h28m03s
8 ISSABAYEV Bauyrzhan (KAZ) / DEMAYANENKO Vladimir (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h28m05s
43 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 5h02m57s

2016 Silk Way Rally – overall positions after Leg 9 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 22h25m08s
2 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 22h35m05s
3 AL RAJHI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 22h53m08s
4 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 23h10m54s
5 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 23h44m21s
6 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 23h53m45s
7 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 24h22m17s
8 ISSABAYEV Bauyrzhan (KAZ) / DEMAYANENKO Vladimir (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 24h32m37s
29 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 34h33m38s

Thursday, 21 July 2016
Silk Way Rally
Day 12

Silk Way Rally Leg 11 cancelled due to desert storm

Leg 11: Dunhuang (China) – Jiayuguan (China)
Liaison, 525.24kms (competitive element cancelled)

A desert storm in the Gansu region stopped the 330km competitive stage of the Silk Way Rally from proceeding yesterday due to safety concerns.

The strong wind whipped up sand around the Dunhuang bivouac, preventing the event helicopters and relay planes from taking to the air due to low visibility.

Car 134 of Isuzu Motorsports joined the remaining 99 competitive vehicles in convoy for the 525km journey from Dunhuang to Jiayuguan.

Jiayuguan is situated close the Jiayu Pass, the largest and most intact pass of the Great Wall of China.

Today the rally restarts, with a 666.92km liaison and a long tough 425km competitive stage, which will take the Isuzu Motorsports team from Jiyuguan and into Inner Mongolia where they will finish the day in Alashan. After competitors complete a fast blast along sandy tracks and conquer some tricky navigation, they will come face to face with the intimidating Gobi dunes. There are almost 400 lakes tucked in the hollows of the dunes.

The Silk Way Rally now enters its final three legs. Competitors will cross the finish line in Hohhot on July 24, before driving to Beijing where they will celebrate the event’s conclusion with the awaiting crowd.

For a full listing of results and live tracking of the race please see:
http://www.silkwayrally.com/fr/results/
Follow Isuzu Motorsports on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IsuzuMotorsports

Friday, 22 July 2016
Silk Way Rally
Day 13

Isuzu Motorsports get down to business in the notorious Gobi dunes

Leg 12: Jiayungan (China) – Alashan (China)
Liaison, 241.92km; stage: 425km

Adrian Di Lallo and Harry Suzuki of Isuzu Motorsports (Car 134) continue to steadily climb the outright standings of the Silk Way Rally, finishing a tough Leg 12 in 27th position.

After the previous day’s leg was cancelled due to a sandstorm, it was back to business for the pair and their production-spec Isuzu DMAX, with a 241km liaison and a long 425km special stage featuring plenty of variety. Leg 12 took the team from Jiayungan to Alashan, the home of the notorious Gobi dunes.

“Well someone ordered us a ‘cop the lot burger’ today!” said Di Lallo.

“Today’s 425km special wasn’t exactly how it was described in the preamble! They called it the 400 lakes road – we think they should have called it the ‘road of 4 million gutters’.

“The stage started on a high speed track, where we were quickly faced with lots of ruts, gutters and creek crossings. The mid-section was divided by a short controlled speed zone on tarmac and then some gnarly dunes followed by fesh fesh tracks and then several massive dune field crossings. The stage rounded out with more fesh fesh, high speed river bed runs and then the last track into ‘ruttsville’.

“All in all it was a long tough day in our DMAX ute, but once again it rose to the challenge. We are still focusing on preserving the car’s condition over the particularly rough sections of the course.”

The team still occupy fourth position in the T2 Production category, 5hrs 15mins behind the category leaders Akira Miura and co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter.

Everything was going smoothly in the dunes for Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, until they were given a four hour penalty for failing to come within the required distance of way-points 75 and 76. This gave the stage win to outright leaders Cyril Despres and David Castera, with Loeb and Elena slipping down to tenth place overall. Yazeed Mohamed Al Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk now move into second outright.

Leg 13 will become unlucky for those who do not pay careful attention to navigation. The 326km special stage will feature narrow tracks and tricky navigation between the dunes. Competitors will spend the night in Wuhai, which is located on the banks of the Yellow River, between the Gobi and Ordos deserts.

For a full listing of results and live tracking of the race please see:
http://www.silkwayrally.com/fr/results/

Follow Isuzu Motorsports on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IsuzuMotorsports

Partial General Classification Results (as of 21/7/16, 23:07pm)

2016 Silk Way Rally – Stage results for SS12 (Cars):

1 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 4h57m46s
2 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 5h04m48s
3 AL RAJHI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 5h07m18s
4 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 5h08m06s
5 PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET Jean-Paul (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR 5h11m11s
6 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 5h20m22s
7 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 5h26m35s
8 SAZONOV Yuriy (KAZ) / TSYRO Dmytro (KAZ) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 5h38m11s
43 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 7h55m41s

2016 Silk Way Rally – overall positions after Leg 12 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 27h29m56s
2 AL RAJHI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 28h00m26s
3 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 28h24m00s
4 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 29h10m56s
5 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 29h32m15s
6 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 29h42m39s
7 ISSABAYEV Bauyrzhan (KAZ) / DEMAYANENKO Vladimir (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 30h19m46s
8 PELICHET Jérôme (FRA) / DECRE Eugenie (FRA) Toyota Hilux 30h58m15s
27 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 42h29m19s

Saturday, 23 July 2016
Silk Way Rally
Day 14

Isuzu Motorsports are still going strong on Silk Way Rally

Leg 13: Alashan (China) – Wuhai (China)
Liaison, 357.45km; stage: 367.44km

It was another successful day in the dunes for the Isuzu Motorsports team, finishing the Silk Way Rally’s 367km penultimate special stage third fastest in the T2 Production category, only 33 minutes behind the category leaders.

The landscape on Leg 13 looked like it had been pulled straight out of a Hollywood movie, with mountain-like bright yellow dunes which stood in between the DMAX and the Leg’s finish in Wuhai.

“The stage started with 100kms of huge dunes and then continued on a silty, boggy fesh-fesh track skirting the wadis, before giving us more dune crossings,” said team driver Adrian Di Lallo. “The DMAX breezed through it, and we experienced very little difficulty with the stage.”

“The landscape of the stage was something else! The immense dune field that we started in was a rich colour, powdery from its clay content. Down in the valleys of these monstrous dunes are many oases, complete with green grass, animals and a watering hole – just like in the cartoons!

“There were also rock formations that looked other worldly as if a giant had dropped these weird looking rock piles randomly – and of course we encountered the local wildlife in the form of donkeys, camels and birds of prey.

“We don’t often enough to stop and take check of just how lucky we are to see the things we see and go to places unimaginable unless you see it for yourself.

“The experiences we have are more than just racing and more than just hanging out with our mates. It’s the places we go and the people we meet – racing is just a bonus!”

With just one stage to go Di Lallo and co-driver Harry Suzuki are 5hrs 2mins behind the outright T2 category leaders Akira Miura and Laurent Lichtleuchter. To obtain a top three finish for the category, the Isuzu Motorsports team would need to close a 40 minute gap on the next stage.

Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret once-again excelled on the desert terrain to be the fastest to complete the stage, with Russians Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov only 3mins 27secs behind. Cyril Despres and David Castera finished the stage in third - further cementing their outright lead which now has a gap of 31mins 27secs.

Today’s leg will give Silk Way Rally competitors a final 261km opportunity to elevate their standing on the leaderboard. The journey from Wuhai to Hohhot will feature fast sandy tracks and a few dunes. Organisers warn ‘the rally cannot be won on this ultimate timed sector, but it can certainly be lost’.

For a full listing of results and live tracking of the race please see:
http://www.silkwayrally.com/fr/results/

Follow Isuzu Motorsports on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IsuzuMotorsports

Partial General Classification Results (as of 23/7/16, 11:15am)

2016 Silk Way Rally – Stage results for SS13 (Cars):

1 PETERHANSEL Stéphane (FRA) / COTTRET Jean-Paul (FRA) Peugeot 2008 DKR 4h50m05s
2 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 4h53m32s
3 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 4h55m45s
4 AL RAJHI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 4h56m42s
5 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 4h57m45s
6 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 5h03m33s
7 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 5h11m47s
8 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 5h16m37s
30 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 7h50m18s

2016 Silk Way Rally – overall positions after Leg 13 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 32h25m41s
2 AL RAJHI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 32h57m08s
3 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 33h17m32s
4 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 34h22m43s
5 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 34h35m48s
6 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 34h59m16s
7 ISSABAYEV Bauyrzhan (KAZ) / DEMAYANENKO Vladimir (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 36h24m04s
8 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 36h30m36s
25 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 50h19m37s

Sunday, 24 July 2016
Silk Way Rally
Day 15

Isuzu Motorsports successfully complete 10000km Silk Way Rally journey

Leg 14: Wuhai (China) – Hohhot (China)
Liaison, 493.28km; stage: 261km

After 15 days, three countries and over 10,000kms, Car 134 of Isuzu Motorsports has crossed the Silk Way Rally finish line in 26th outright.

Over two weeks ago, 102 cars lined up at the rally’s start line in Moscow, and after the final leg only 72 cars crossed the final Leg’s finish line in Hohhot – with the Isuzu DMAX piloted by Adrian Di Lallo and co-driven by Harry Suzuki being one of this elite group.  

It was the first outing for the 2016 Isuzu DMAX which was competing in the T2 Production class – a category where only minor modifications predominately for safety purposes are allowed on the vehicles. In a category dominated by much larger capacity vehicles such as the Toyota Landcruiser, Isuzu Motorsports driver Adrian Di Lallo said the DMAX was able to hold its own.

“Over the past two weeks we have driven through some of the harshest conditions on the planet,” said Di Lallo. “There has been mountains, river crossings, patches of deep mud, desert plains, dune fields and more.

“I can’t say that our production-spec DMAX has been the fastest car I have driven, nor was it the fastest T2 car competing at Silk Way – but it performed exceptionally well in highly esteemed company and has proven itself to be strong, robust and reliable. Better still, the fuel efficiency was so amazing that we only had to carry half the fuel load of some other competitors.

“I can honestly put my hand on my heart and tell any tradie, caravaner or weekend warrior that a series production DMAX will go anywhere – I know this because I just drove one with only fancy shock absorbers and a roll cage as a modification to what can only be described as hell and back.”

The team came fourth in the T2 category, missing out on a podium finish by just over an hour. Akira Miura and Laurent Lichteuchter (Toyota VDJ200) had been leading the category for most of the event, but on the final leg lost their hour’s lead when they experienced problems in the dunes, giving the category win to Denis Berezovskiy and Ignat Falkov (Toyota Landcruiser). Miura and Lichteuchter had to settle for second and Kazakhs team Marat Abykayev and Andrei Chipenko took third place.

Di Lallo said there was a large team that helped make their 10,000km journey a success.

“So now that the final special stage of the Silk Way Rally is complete I would like to thank Harry from Isuzu Motorsports, and Isuzu Motors International Thailand for their continued trust and support.

“I would like to thank our crew: Rodger, Kano, San, AJ and Udom, for making sure our noble stead was race ready each day. The crew needs to travel as far as we do and then often work long into the night.

“Thank you to the Silk Way Rally organisers for the care and attention that went into the event each day and for plotting such a magnificent course.

“I would also like to thank my beautiful wife Donna and my wonderful children for keeping me grounded and for making me happy every day.”

The event was won by previous Moto maestros Cyril Despres and David Castera (Peugeot DKR 2008). It has been a mostly smooth run for the duo who have now claimed their first four-wheel rally raid win.

“I am happy to share this victory with David,” said Despres. “It is never easy to win a rally, when you realize the caliber of the rivals you have to battle over two weeks.”

Winning the final special stage, Yazeed Al Rahji and Timo Glottschalk (MINI ALL4 Racing) solidified their overall runner-up position 25mins and 51secs behind the winners. Russia’s Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (MINI ALL4 Racing) completed the podium with a final 49mins 46secs gap to the leaders.

Competitors now make a 507km journey to the famous ‘Bird’s Nest’ stadium in Beijing on freeways which have been closed specifically for the event convoy. Once there winners will take to the podium in front of the crowd and all competitors will share in a final celebration of the event, before making the long journey back to their respective countries.   

For a full listing of results and live tracking of the race please see:
http://www.silkwayrally.com/fr/results/

Follow Isuzu Motorsports on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IsuzuMotorsports

Partial General Classification Results (as of 23/7/16, 11:15am)

2016 Silk Way Rally – Stage results for SS13 (Cars):

1 AL RAJHI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h44m01s
2 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 3h46m43s
3 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h47m22s
4 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h47m32s
5 KOOLEN Cornelis (NLD) / LARROQUE Pascal (FRA) Optimus MD 3h48m16s
6 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 3h49m37s
7 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 3h52m15s
8 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 3h54m30s
42 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 5h40m59s

2016 Silk Way Rally – overall positions after Leg 13 (Cars):

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 36h15m18s
2 AL RAJHI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 36h41m09s
3 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 37h05m04s
4 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 38h10m05s
5 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 38h28m03s
6 HAN Wei (CHN) / GARCIN Jean-Pierre (FRA) SMG ORC 38h53m46s
7 LOEB Sébastien (FRA) / ELENA Daniel (MCO) Peugeot 2008 DKR 40h17m19s
8 PELICHET Jérôme (FRA) / DECRE Eugenie (FRA) Toyota Hilux 40h44m02s
26 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 56h00m36s

2016 Silk Way Rally – T2 Category Top Five (Cars):

18 BEREZOVSKIY Denis (KAZ) / FALKOV Ignat (KAZ) Toyota Land Cruiser 155 50h58m49s
20 MIURA Akira (JPN) / LICHTLEUCHTER Laurent (FRA) Toyota VDJ200 51h11m38s
25 ABYKAYEV Marat (KAZ) / CHIPENKO Andrei (KAZ) Toyota Land Cruiser 200 55h08m09s
26 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 56h00m36s
34 AIVAZIAN Marc (FRA) / VIDAL Luc (FRA) Toyota Land Cruiser KDJ120 115h25m27s

25 July 2016
Silk Way Rally

15days: Moscow, Russia – Beijing, China
8 July – 24 July, 2016
Liaison 6,669.74; Competitive 4,104.96km; Total distance 10,774.70km

Car 134

DMAX conquers harshest of conditions to become highest placed T2 Pick-Up

It was a feat just to finish the 10,000 kilometre Silk Way Rally, but the Isuzu Motorsports team of Adrian Di Lallo and Harry Suzuki piloting a new untested 2016 D-MAX(Car 134) managed to complete the tough 15-day event as the highest placed pick-up truck in the ‘T2’ Production class.

The ‘T2’ class was dominated by entries with a significantly larger engine capacity than the 3.0 litre turbo diesel D-MAX, such as the 4.6 litre V8 Landcruiser 200 series.The team were mindful of preservation with 8 of the 14 special stages over 300 kilometres in length. 

The 4,104.96 kilometre competitive course provided competitors with plenty of variety. Russia was host to Legs 1 and 2 which gave the challenge of dust, mud and rain. Legs 3 to 6 saw competitors faced with the treacherous tracks, hidden rocks, mud and mountains of Kazakhstan.Legs 7 to 15 were held in the desert terrain of China, with its searing hot temperatures testing the focus of competitors and huge dunes. 

Early on in the event it was obvious that it wasn’t only the gruelling desert terrain with its monstrous dunes and vast rutted steppes competitors needed to contend with, but also Mother Nature whoflexed her full force. Leg 2 in Ufa, Russia and Leg 11 in Jiayunguan, China were cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. 

The team lost time early on in the event due to a navigation error. They refocused after this incident, determined in their need to regain time, without putting the D-MAX at risk.  

“My first goal with to bring the car to the finish, and that’s what we did,” said Di Lallo. “Without the benefit of destructive testing you just don’t know how far you can push things. We succeeded in reaching our goal.” 

Di Lallo fell in love with the stunning ever-changing landscapes they encountered throughout the event – and the variety of challenges those terrains presented themselves and the D-MAX.

“There were a few stages where we encountered the lot – fesh-fesh, sand dunes, clay and gravel. There were long hot days in our tradies ute, but the D-MAX revelled in the challenge and ate it up.”

The last special stage on July 23 saw the team cross the finish line in Hohhot China, before travelling the next day to a hero’s welcome at the famous Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, 

The Silk Way Rally Director VladamirChagin said “the rally is not won by the one who goes fast, but by the one who doesn’t break down.” Strategy combined with the durability of the D-MAX was credited for the team being one of the 71 autos that finished the event – out of 102 starters. The team placed 26th outright.

“Over the past two weeks we have driven through some of the harshest conditions on the planet,” said Di Lallo. “There has been mountains, river crossings, patches of deep mud, desert plains, dune fields and more.

“But there really wasn’t any obstacle that was too great for the D-MAX to surpass with careful navigation, and sometimes brutal force.”

The consistency of Isuzu Motorsports throughout the special stages saw them placewell in the ‘T2’ Class, finishing second on Leg 3 and Leg 6. They also finished in third place four times. These results equated to the team completing ‘T2’ Class in fourthplace overall, six hours behind the class leaders, and finishing as the highest placed pickup in Class. Not everyone in the T2 category was able to reach the finish, with four vehicles having to retire along the way out of 17 starters.  

Di Lallo said he is proud of the Isuzu Motorsports crew who all have come from different cultures to form a cohesive team.

“We have this very ethnically diverse team, but it is certainly no barrier to getting things done!

“AJ is a Chinese speaking Malaysian Indian, Udom is Thai, Kano San is Japanese-spec Thai, Rodger is a full Australian skippy, Harry San is a Japanese-spec Aussie, and I’m an Italian-Australian.”

The Silk Way Rally is inspired by the concept of Mr. XíJìnpíng, the President of the 
People’s Republic of China. The idea lies in “five connecting elements”: political coordination, a single infrastructure, trade relations, monetary and financial circulation, and humanitarian communication for the advancement in practical cooperation, promoting mutual political trust, economical integration and cultural tolerance with neighboring countries. 

The rally is organised by Vladimir Chagrin, a legend of the Dakar Rally, winning it seven times and holding an impressive record of 63 Dakar leg victories.The Russian Ministry of Sport, Chinese Ministry of External Affairs, Kazakhstan Ministry of Sport, FIA and the Automobile Federations of the host countries all took an active part in the organization of the event. 

The D-MAX was sporting ‘Morgan’s Forever’ stickers on the side of the D-MAX which travelled with the team on the 10,000 kilometre journey. These were to keep the memory alive and honour a young friend of the team who passed away suddenly. 

Final Official Classification

1 DESPRES Cyril (AND) / CASTERA David (AND) Peugeot 2008 DKR 36h15m18s
2 AL RAJHI Yazeed Mohamed (SAU) / GOTTSCHALK Timo (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 36h41m09s
3 VASILYEV Vladimir (RUS) / ZHILTSOV Konstantin (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 37h05m04s
4 HUNT Harry (GBR) / SCHULZ Andras (DEU) Mini ALL4 Racing 38h10m05s
5 RAKHIMBAYEV Aidyn (KAZ) / NIKOLAEV Anton (RUS) Mini ALL4 Racing 38h28m03s
26 DI LALLO Adrian (AUS) / SUZUKI Hiroaki (AUS) Isuzu D-Max 56h00m36

Stage winners T2

SS1 MIURA Akira (JPN) / LICHTLEUCHTER Laurent (FRA) Toyota VDJ200 2
SS2 Cancelled
SS3 TERENTIEV Aleksandr (RUS) / BERKUT Alexey (RUS) Ford F150
SS4 TERENTIEV Aleksandr (RUS) / BERKUT Alexey (RUS) Ford F150
SS5 MIURA Akira (JPN) / LICHTLEUCHTER Laurent (FRA) Toyota VDJ200 6
SS6 BEREZOVSKIY Denis (KAZ) / FALKOV Ignat (KAZ) Toyota Land Cruiser 155
SS7 BEREZOVSKIY Denis (KAZ) / FALKOV Ignat (KAZ) Toyota Land Cruiser 155
SS8 BEREZOVSKIY Denis (KAZ) / FALKOV Ignat (KAZ) Toyota Land Cruiser 155
SS9 MIURA Akira (JPN) / LICHTLEUCHTER Laurent (FRA) Toyota VDJ200
SS10 MIURA Akira (JPN) / LICHTLEUCHTER Laurent (FRA) Toyota VDJ200
SS11 Cancelled
SS12 MIURA Akira (JPN) / LICHTLEUCHTER Laurent (FRA) Toyota VDJ200
SS13 BEREZOVSKIY Denis (KAZ) / FALKOV Ignat (KAZ) Toyota Land Cruiser 155
SS14 BEREZOVSKIY Denis (KAZ) / FALKOV Ignat (KAZ) Toyota Land Cruiser 155

Performance summary of Isuzu Motorsports 
Adrian Di Lallo (AUS)/Harry Suzuki (AUS) ‘T2’ class Isuzu D-MAX:

SS1 6th T2 / 69th Outright
SS2 Cancelled
SS3 2nd T2 / 39th Outright
SS4 4th T2 / 46th Outright
SS5 12th T2 / 73rd Outright
SS6 2nd T2 / 47th Outright
SS7 6th T2 / 69th Outright
SS8 3rd T2 / 39th Outright
SS9 5th T2 / 35th Outright
SS10 3rd T2 / 43rd Outright
SS11 Cancelled
SS12 6th T2 / 43rd Outright
SS13 3rd T2 / 30th Outright
SS14 3rd T2 / 42nd Outright