The Silk Way Rally will visit the Chechen Republic for the first time in its history next year, as the route for the 2022 edition which was unveiled on Wednesday.
Totaling over 2485-miles (over 1500 miles of competitive stage distance), the Silk Way is the largest cross-country rally in Eurasia and will take place across 10 days between July 6-16.
Unlike previous editions, the 2022 rally will remain primarily in the Russian Federation for the first time since 2013, with a first visit to the Chechen Republic and its capital city Grozny also on the itinerary.
Historically, the Silk Way has traversed several borders, including Turkmenistan during the inaugural event, while Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia have also featured since 2016.
Last year’s rally, won by Guerlain Chicherit in a Century CR6 prototype, was cut short following a rise in COVID-19 cases which forced the border with Mongolia to be closed.
For 2022, the rally will start in the city of Astrakhan in southern Russia, along the Volga River, heading further south to Grozny before passing through the cities of Elista, Volgograd and Voronezh and finishing in Moscow’s Red Square.
Rally sporting director, and 2007 Dakar Rally winner, Luc Alphand said that the new itinerary should offer competitors a different challenge on “undiscovered routes”.
“One of the features of the cross-country rally, besides the sports component, is the opportunity to discover new landscapes,” Alphand said.
“And now we are in the Chechen Republic, in the magnificent mountains. Cross-country rallies have never been held in this part of the country before. For us, as well as for the competitors, it is very important to be here and have the opportunity to discover new, previously undiscovered routs of an unprecedented scale and range.”
Alphand’s thoughts were similarly shared by Vladimir Chagin, the head of the Silk Way organization.
“What makes the Silk Way Rally special? The fact that every year the competitors of the event overcome a completely new route, which is never repeated,” Chagin explained.
“The 2022 rally will not be an exception – its distance will open up a lot of new things for each driver. Let me warn you right away: it’s going to be interesting, but extremely difficult. Although these are the challenges that attract competitors from all over the world.”
Currently, the Silk Way Rally forms part of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies schedule along with the iconic Dakar Rally.
It could feature as a world championship event next season, if it is included in the new-for-2022 FIA Cross-Country World Championship calendar.