The ISUZU rally team are making final preparations before they depart for Moscow to contest the 2017 Silk Way Rally that starts on 7 July and finishes on 22 July 2017.
Sponsored by ISUZU Motors International Thailand, the new ISUZU mu-X sporting race number 135, will be put to the ultimate test across 9,600 kilometres and 15 stages of some of the planet’s toughest terrains from Russia to China.
Western Australian driver Adrian Di Lallo and co-driver Harry Suzuki competed in last year’s Silk Way Rally in a D-MAX, finishing in the ‘T2’ Class in fourth place; the highest placed pickup in Class. They finished two stages in second place and four stages in third place.
Di Lallo said he is feeling confident and is ready to race.
“This year I’m confident we have the team and the equipment needed to tame this extreme adventure. The mu-X is super tough and super reliable,” Di Lallo said.
It is the latest challenge for Di Lallo and co-driver Suzuki who have tackled some of the world’s toughest rally raid events including Dakar, Australasian Safari and the China Grand Rally.
Di Lallo said the team’s goal is 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 rally team’ s competition vehicle similar to the ones available to purchase at a dealership.
Despite its minimum modifications, Di Lallo is confident the brand new ISUZU mu-X is up to the task.
“Our mu-X 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,” Di Lallo said.
“I have a good idea what to expect after last year’s campaign. It’ll be tough, no doubt about it. I expect some stages in Russia to be fast flowing rally roads, in Kazakhstan desert and mountainous ranges, and I’m expecting major sand dunes in the north of China in the Gobi Desert.
“It’s a marathon rally raid event and we’re going to treat it as such, pushing while being mindful that we need to preserve the car right to the end of the final stage.
“Last year, we approached every day as a new rally and that worked well for us, always looking forward.
"Whilst the strength of the production D-MAX is undoubtable - proven by last year’s result and the punishment it endured, I am a race car driver at heart and I am very much looking forward to the advantages presented by the mu-X, particularly in the areas of handling and stopping due to the rear suspension setup and the clear advantage of having four wheel disc brakes. I think the mu-X will also be much easier to handle at high speed due to its superior geometry and it should also perform very well in the monstrous ‘dunes of no return’ that await us in China because of its slightly shorter wheelbase."
“I have every confidence in our team, in the car and in the ISUZU product. I’m really looking forward to the challenge of it all and I can’t wait to get going,” the 42-year-old father of five said.
Di Lallo and Suzuki will race the clock in a field of about 125 vehicles, competing along a path veined to be similar to the historic Silk Road route that facilitated trade through Russia, Kazakhstan and China.
The seventh edition of Silk Way Rally is set to be another challenge to human skills and technical capabilities. In 2017 the rally organisers have prepared new routes, which will lead competitors from Moscow Red Square to the ancient cradle of Chinese civilization of Xi’an. The full variety of terrains, tricky navigation traps and great sands of Gobi Desert will become a new unforgettable adventure for the entire rally fraternity.
The Silk Way Rally has become a major event in the International Cross-Country Rally calendar. About 125 cars and trucks with competitors representing 41 countries are expected to undertake the gruelling challenge including Dakar champions, World Rally Champions, and other motorsport heroes. Countries represented by competitors include China, Russia, France, Qatar, England, Australia, South Africa, America and Japan.
The Silk Way Rally starts in Moscow on 7 July and finishes in Xi’an on 22 July 2017. Competitors will travel 9,608 kilometres including 4,095 kilometres of special stages through three countries - Russia, Kazakhstan, China, over 15 days.
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