Hotan, (Xinjiang/China) May, 31
Hotan - Hotan : 355km
Liaison : 102km
SS : 45km
Liaison : 208km
Zi Yungang/Wang Zengrong and Bredley John Cox Overall Winners of 2023 Taklimakan Rally!
Stage 9 continues to the Mountain Kunlun, the “dragon mountain” which is believed to be the origin of Taoism and is famous for its mysterious legends as well as its beautiful scenery. The socalled "Kunlun Sky Road", with the average elevation of 3100 meter, offers a spectaculer view which combines the alpine meadow and the canyon, with the remote view of gobi in the far north.
This stage is also a brand new stage for Taklimakan Rally, though it is with riverbed section and steep altitude drops, the 31 moto and 76 auto who started late this morning can still regard this 45km special stage as a scenic self-drive trip.
In the auto category, the final victory goes to Zi Yungang/Wang Zengrong from Shanxi Yunxiang Team. According to Zi Yungang “My strategy in the begining is to finish the rally with a stable tempo, I did not expect to win the Rally . A good surprise for me. We have a strong logistics and technicle team, I own my performance to them. The view of this stage is amazing, since I have a clear lead, I did not speed up, just admire the snow mountains and the prairie, enjoy the last stage.”
Team BAIC contributes the podium with Zhang Guoyu/Oriol Mena Valdearcos and Liu Yangui/Chen Feng listed the 2nd
place. Liu Yangui,the second place in 2019 said:“I am quite satisfied with my performance this year, I should thank my co-pilot Chen Feng, zero mistake during the navigation. My thanks also goes to the BAIC team, they provide the best service during the whole rally so we can concentrate on the rally.”
Han Wei, who suffered a major technical failure in stage 3 and lose the oppurtunity to stand in the podium, he continues to compete in the rally and works as the supportive vehicle for his teammates. His teammate Liu Yatuan/Yan Ke finish the 5th
place in their SMG, just behind the group Xu Ailli/Tong Zhenrong in Hilus.
As to the moto, Bredley John cox and Arunas Gelazninkas continues their good performance and take the 1st
place for their team Shanxi Yulin, the local driver Yakepu finish the game as the 3rd
place, followed by Neels Therica and Shi Haoyu in KOVE.
Bredley John Cox, the champion of 2023 Taklimakan said “This is an amazing and incredible week, I have lots of fun in this rally, the people are nice, our team is great. This is my first trip to China, I hope I can also be champion during my next trip to China. As to the rally, my favorite part is for sure the dunes, the view of snow mountain of today is also beautiful, I would definitely stop and take a photo if it was not in the game.”
The french dirver Neels Therica also presents the excellent performance during this rally:“I think the Taklimakan Rally is not easy, especially the stage with big dunes and soft sand. I was happy to see that the local people are quite interested in the motorcycle, The beautiful stages with changable terrains is the new experence for me. I wish to come back again to for the rally.
The finishers of the 2023 Taklimakan Rally will enjoy their victory in Hotan tonight, tomorrow moring all the pilots will have a parade in the city before the grand podium ceremony. The champagne and the cheers are ready to welcome the heroes of the 2023 Taklimakan Rally.
Overall Classification Auto
1. Zi Yungang (CHN) / Wang Zengrongg (CHN), Yun Xiang, 34H16’09”
2. Zhang Guoyu(CHN) / Oriol Mena Valdearcos(ESP), BAIC, +5’30”
3. Liu Yangui(CHN) / Chen Feng (CHN), BAIC, +53’58”
4. Xu Aili (CHN) / Tong Zhenrong (CHN), Hilux, +2H58’05”
5. Liu Yatuan (CHN) / Yan Ke (CHN), SMG, +3H20’58”
Overall Classification Moto
1 Bredley John Cox (RSA), KTM, 24H28’05”
2 Arunas Gelazninkas (LTU), KTV, +34’30”
3 Yakepu (CHN), KTM, +1H49’10”
4 NEELS Theric (FRA), KOVE, +2H11’10”
5 Shi Haoyu (CHN), KOVE, +2H17’36”