The Republic of Kazakhstan is situated in Eurasia, straddling both Europe and Asia. The deserts and semi-deserts account for 58% of Kazakhstan and the steppes make up one-quarter of the country.
These steppes were crossed during edition one of the Silk Way Rally in2009. The raiders covered more than 2 500 km through Kazakhstan. Uralsk hosted the bivouac, from which competitors then proceeded to Beyneu and Zhanaozen and after that negotiated the final part of the route in Turkmenistan.
Since then motorsport interest in Kazakhstan has steadily increased, and local racers and teams have made extraordinary progress in international cross-country rallies. The Astana Rally Team unites the country’s top participants, including veteran competitor Arthur Ardavichus.
In 2016, Kazakhstan will host four stages of the Silk Way Rally with all-new routes and cities. The crews will make their way to Kostanay and its famous Lake Balkhash, as well as the capital city Astana and spend the rest day in Almaty.
The People's Republic of China is the most powerful country in Asia and the most populated in the world. Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong are three of the most important cities in the world on the economic and political fronts.
Sport development in China was deeply encouraged in 2008, when Beijing hosted the XXIX Summer Olympic Games, where Chinese athletes led the gold medal table with 51. During that time, motor racing also made great progress from one year to the next, both domestically and internationally.
In 2016 the Silk Way Rally will become the first large-scale event in this domain, to take place in The People's Republic of China. Half of the total route length of more than 10 000 km will cross the country and the capital Beijing will host the final stage of the rally on 24 July. The crews will race near several northern Chinese cities with amazing sandy routes and dunes, which will present many challenges to the competitors.
The Russian Federation ranks number 1 in terms of land mass. As it is situated in two parts of the world, Russia plays a significant role both in Europe and Asia. As one of the world's leading powers, Russia has enjoyed tremendous success in all sports. It has also made great strides in motor racing in various competitions and has become very popular with young people.
Seven-time Dakar Rally winner, Vladimir Chagin, is one of the best examples of the Russian motor racing success and has become a revered sportsman in his home country. Thanks to his remarkable cross-country results, Chagin has won the hearts of millions of fans all over the country, and the videos of these races are aired on national television.
Thanks to the popularity of rally-raid in Russia the Silk Way Rally has become one of the major sporting events in the country. The race is held with the government support, and the chiefs of the Ministry of Sports regularly join the rally’s Organizing Committee.
In 2016 the ceremonial start of Silk Way Rally will take place in the heart of Moscow – in Red Square. The crews will make their way to Kazan, Ufa and Chelyabinsk, which are the country’s largest industrial and financial centers and where cross-country rallies are the most popular sport.