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Mastering variety is key in Kazakhstan

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The FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies roars back into action in central Asia for the third of four events on the 2019 calendar. Rally Kazakhstan (26 May-1 June) presents yet another completely different challenge for the crews as they head into the arid scrublands, savannahs and deserts of the world’s largest landlocked country and the ninth largest in the world.

After two specialised events in Qatar and Abu Dhabi that required supreme navigational skills and mastery of towering dunes, the variety of stunning landscapes in the Republic of Kazakhstan characterise the third round, making it another unique adventure for the world-class entry of 28 international crews.

With one victory apiece on the opening two rounds, Nasser Al Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel and Stéphane and Andrea Peterhansel top the entry list and the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies standings. Al Attiyah took the win in the first Rally Kazakhstan counting towards the series in 2017 and, after missing the second World Cup round in March, will be looking to repeat that performance in his Hilux Overdrive. Legendary cross country rider and driver Stéphane Peterhansel returned to World Cup action in Abu Dhabi and he and Andrea made history by taking their first FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies win as a husband and wife team. Andrea, herself a former factory cross country rider and driver, is more than qualified to sit in the all-important navigator’s seat, but their victory was all the more remarkable after she spent months undergoing medical treatment to overcome car sickness as a navigator.

Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov are back in action in their BMW X3, the Russians fourth overall in the standings and needing a solid result to close the six point deficit to the leaders. Yazeed Al Rajhi and German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz, along with Bernhard Ten Brinke and Tom Colsoul are piloting the official Overdrive Racing Hilux Overdrives. Al Rajhi claimed an impressive victory in Kazakhstan last year and is currently joint fifth in the standings after a disappointing retirement in Abu Dhabi. Miroslav Zapletal/Marek Sykora will also be hoping for better luck after only netting a 10th position from the opening two rounds. Reigning FIA World Cup champion Jakub Przygonski, co-driven by Timo Gottschalk, has also suffered his own share of bad luck this season belying impressive performances. Chilean Boris Garafulic, co-driven by Portugal’s Filipe Palmeiro, and the Russian crew of Viktor Khoroshavtsev and Anton Nikolayev round out the top FIA T1 seeded entries.

T3 entries are headed by Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin, the Brazilians at the top of the category with a first and second position under their belts this year. Their nearest rival, Fedor Vorobyev, is 10 points adrift in the title fight and returns in similar Can Am machinery. Mohammed Al Meer leads the entries in T2, the Qatari heading the category standings in his Landcruiser.

The start and finish of Rally Kazakhstan take place on the east coast of the Caspian Sea in Aktau, the city centre home to the service park until Monday 27 May, when crews head out to the first of six selective sections that take them on a southerly route to Kenderly, also on the coast. From here, the second and third selective sections loop in and out of the Kenderly bivouac before returning to Aktau during leg 4 for the fifth leg based around the city. The sixth and final section is the shortest of the event before the winners cross the podium on the shores of the city of Aktau.

Rally Kazakhstan also coincides with FIA Volunteers Weekend, where a number of activities will take place to celebrate the dedication of all the event’s officials and volunteers, without whom the sport would simply not happen.


Total distance   

2,521.32 km

Selective section distance:

1,860.23 km

Number of selective sections:



Nasser Al Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

Stéphane Peterhansel/Andrea Peterhansel

MINI John Cooper Works Rally

Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov


Yazeed Al Rajhi/Dirk von Zitzewitz

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

Miroslav Zapletal/Marek Sykora


Jakub Przygonski/Timo Gottschalk

MINI John Cooper Works Rally

Boris Garafulic/Felipe Palmeiro

MINI John Cooper Works Rally

Viktor Khoroshavtsev/Anton Nikolayev

G-Force Bars


Sunday 26 May


Scrutineering, Aktau City

08:00-16 :00 hrs

Pre-event Press Conference, Rally HQ

18:00 hrs

Start Ceremony

20:00 hrs


Monday 27 May – Leg 1 (Aktau-Kenderly)


Start of SS1 (280.35 kilometres)

08:40 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

12:40 hrs approx.


Tuesday 28 May – Leg 2 (Kenderly-Kenderly)


Start of SS2 (414.12 kilometres)

08:20 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

14:00 hrs approx.


Wednesday 29 May – Leg 3 (Kenderly-Kenderly)


Start of SS3 (327.47 kilometres)

10:20 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

14:20 hrs approx.


Thursday 30 May – Leg 4 (Kenderly-Aktau)


Start of SS4 (399.24 kilometres)

10:10 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

16:40 hrs approx.


Friday 31 May – Leg 5 (Aktau-Aktau)


Start of SS5 (290.19 kilometres)

10:45 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

17:15 hrs approx.


Saturday 1 June – Leg 6 (Aktau-Aktau)


Start of SS6 (148.76 kilometres)

09:05 hrs

Rally finish

13:00 hrs approx.

Podium ceremony

15 :00 hrs

Prize-Giving, Rally HQ

19:00 hrs