Waking up this morning, the Silk Way Rally has again changed time zones to -2 hours and is now 6 hours ahead of Paris. Today’s town also hosts for tomorrow’s rest day, is no other than Urumqi, which is the main location of the Xinjiang region. 
In Mongol, Urumqi means “beautiful grazing”, but this modern town barely anything related to the mythical towns of the Silk Way anymore. 
A curious fact is that 320 km from Urumqi, next to a small town called Hoxtolgay, at GPS location 46° 17’ N, 86° 40’ E is the furthest place from the ocean, 2,649 km from the Bo Hai cost, part of the Yellow Sea.
The special stage Karamay - Urumqi was announced as part of the hard stages to be faced this week, with the beginning of a timed section on top of some sort of dry lake covered by vegetation, followed by WRC type tracks with many trickeries. Then, an off-road sand section slightly soft to be followed by tracks used to search for oil search with large downhill sections with vegetation, on which you had to stay vigilant until CP1. The second part was fast with some collapsing parts in the edges and the end of it was fast and sinuous.
The 2WD crew #115, Amos and Delaunay, had a great day and finished in the 11ths position, in 3h19’04, only 30’45 behind Sebastien Loeb/Elena, the stage winners, and take the 7th place on the provisional overall classification, less than a minute behind Zhou/Maimon.

“At the beginning of the special stage, explains Eugenio Amos, at about km 40, we were stuck in the sand because we broke the inflating-deflating system in the vegetation. Sebastien repaired and we continued playing around with the pressure of the three other tires. At CP2, we were 4th because I was attacking, but then I decided to finish the special stage more calmly because of the track. I managed to get us to Urumqi with the buggy in good shape so mechanics would not have too much work. We still have 500 km to go, and the hardest is still to come!”

Tomorrow, Sunday, the Silk Way Rally celebrates its traditional rest day. The mechanics will check the buggy for the second week that would not offer any kind of break…


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