Montreal – June 29, 2018 – Members of the Canadian ALDO Racing team were awaiting the June 7 deadline, as Silk Way Rally (SWR) organizers were to announce details of the 2018 rally route. Meanwhile, two containers filled with ALDO Racing’s CR-6 rally-raid car and two support vehicles had sailed to China from Vancouver on May 27 and were due to arrive in Tianjin on June 22, the port city of Beijing.
Then on June 15, there was a dramatic turn of events when rally organizers announced the cancellation of the five-day Chinese section due of circumstances out of their control. The changes meant that the starting line would be moved 4,500 kilometres further west in Astrakhan in southeast Russia. The drastic last-minute change could place the ALDO Racing Team shipment in a precarious situation when it arrived in China.
It was too late to change the shipment destination and request a transit permit to cross China into Russia plus, there would not be enough time to ship the two containers to the new starting line in Astrakhan. After analysing all the possibilities, it is with great disappointment that ALDO Racing announces that it must withdraw from the 2018 Silk Way Rally, now scheduled to start from Russia on July 21.
“We were caught by surprise when they announced the cancellation of the Chinese sections of the rally,” said Patrick Beaulé, codriver of the ALDO Racing CR-6 prototype. “The speed sections in the Gobi Desert and the crossing of the huge dunes were the most interesting parts of this rally. It’s a shame because we really wanted to take on these challenges with our new two-wheel drive car.”
In their June 15 statement, the SWR organizing committee mentioned the possibility of launching a Chinese version of the Silk Way this coming September.
“With all the efforts made to acquire the new CR-6 in South Africa, and the tremendous work done by the team members to set up the car in Canada and ship everything so it would arrive on time in Asia, I was very disappointed to learn that we were not going to compete in this race,” said David Bensadoun, driver of the ALDO Racing Team. “For the sake of all our North American and our Chinese sponsors, I hope to be on the starting line in September. If this rally does not materialize, we are going to come up with a new project in the near future.”
Stephan Desrochers, Project Coordinator for ALDO Racing, is scheduled to fly to Beijing on June 30 to supervise customs clearance of the two ALDO containers. While in China, Desrochers will have the opportunity to discuss and evaluate whether the Silk Way China, which has not yet been officially announced, can become a reality. The team will then decide whether to stay in China or ship everything back to Canada. A final decision will be made at the end of the first week of July.