The Transsyberia Rally has reached Asia. Today the fourth stage set off from Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fifth largest city with over a million inhabitants on the eastern side of the Ural Mountains, and headed toward the east. By evening after 400 kilometres the participants had reached the finish of the first Siberian stage in the city of Tyumen.
The special stage that had been planned for today had to be cancelled, as heavy rainfall had rendered the route impassable, even for all-terrain vehicles. With this, the current standings in the classification remain unchanged: In the lead are Armin Schwarz (Austria) with his co-driver Oliver Hilger (Germany), followed closely by the Polish team Jarek Swiwka/Andrzej Bryl. Ranking third is Carles Celma from Spain, with Jörn Pugmeister (Germany) as navigator, trailed by rally professional Rod Millen from New Zealand and his co-pilot Richard Kelsey (USA). All top teams compete with the 385 hp Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia. Porsche built a limited edition series of the SUV specifically for the endurance rally through Russia and Mongolia.
Armin Schwarz summarises at the finish of the leg: “We had anticipated a tough special stage, so before we set off early this morning we again practised operating the winch-rope and stored all the tools we thought we might need within easy reach. We could now do it all blindfolded. But then the stage was cancelled. At first we were disappointed – I think our adrenaline and motivation levels were at full revs. The leg to Tyumen was not particularly fast but demanding. We crossed rivers with improvised bridges made out of tree trunks and there were many possibilities of sustaining punctures or falling into a deep pothole.”
The route from Tyumen on 7th August leads towards the south-east. After almost 600 kilometres of navigating the teams will reach the destination of Omsk. Armin Schwarz: “We are around 2,600 kilometres east of Moscow and at about 73 degrees East. Ulan Bator is at around 107 degrees east. We still have a long, long way ahead of us. What a great adventure.”