For those who don’t know, the Transsyberia Rally is the toughest marathon rally for near-standard offroad vehicles taking place from the Red Square in Moscow, Russia to the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. The 7,000 km of the rally take the participants through the subartic forests, up to the Altai Mountains and the Gobi Desert.
Today at 11.20 hours the first vehicles left the Red Square in Moscow in order to compete in the 7,000 km journey to Mongolia. The Porsche Cayenne Transsyberia with starting number 1 belongs to Ryan Millen and his co-driver Colin Godby from the Team Porsche Cars North America. Millen, got the first number due to the fact that his father Rod secured overall victory last year.
Millen’s race will definitely not going to be an easy one because the other drivers from Porsche camp will include the ex-European champion Armin Schwarz and his co-driver Andi Schulz from Team Germany, but also Lars Kern and his co-driver Daniel van Kan. Stay tuned, more news about the Transsyberian Rally are set to come!
Press release after the jump!
The technical scrutineering is behind them, the vehicles have undergone final inspections – the Porsche teams are ready to tackle the 2008 Transsyberia Rally powered by Sony Ericsson, arguably the toughest marathon rally for near-standard offroad vehicles. At 11.20 hours on 11th July the first vehicles set off from the Red Square in Moscow on the 7,000 kilometre journey to Mongolia. Competing in the Porsche Cayenne S with starting number one is Ryan Millen and his co-driver Colin Godby from Team Porsche Cars North America. Millen took over the starting number one from his father Rod, who secured overall victory here last year.
“My father gave me several tips of course. These first-hand suggestions can only help us. Navigation will be all decisive. This is where you lose or gain time. Aside from this we hope to have as clean a rally as possible without any serious mishaps. We know it’s a long way to Ulaanbaatar and we know there is quite some pressure on us to bring home another Millen win. If we are clever we have a good chance to repeat this success,” comments rally professional Ryan Millen.
Millen’s opponents from the Porsche camp will certainly not make it easy for the Transsyberia rookie. Ex-European rally champion Armin Schwarz from Team Germany 1 still has a score to settle with the marathon rally through Russia and Mongolia. “Heading into my second attempt at the Transsyberia I’ve got my bearings much quicker. My co-driver Andi Schulz and I have spent the last few days here in Moscow checking out all our equipment and thinking about the best place to pack it all. Our goal for 2008 is clear: We want to win the rally. Now that I know what’s facing us we can organise the race better than in 2007. Hopefully our experience will pay off.”
Lars Kern from Team Germany 3 also belongs to the circle of favourites in his Cayenne S Transsyberia. “Last year my co-driver Daniel van Kan and I came fourth in a Suzuki . Why shouldn’t it work better now in a 385 hp Porsche? But we also know that a lot can happen on such a long and tough rally. We will for sure need a little luck to finish in the top five,” said Kern prior to the start in Moscow.
Co-driver skill has highest priority at the Transsyberia Rally. Mistakes in navigation can mean a huge loss of time. Another well-rehearsed team are Said al Hajri and his co-driver Tim Trenker from Team Middle East. “Said and I are better prepared this year. Compared to 2007 we have an idea of what’s ahead,” reports Trinker. “After last year’s experiences Porsche has done a superb job on modifying the vehicle. Huge compliments! Our plan is to finish in the top three.”
Christian Pfeil-Schneider from Team Colombia Arrow also has praise for the considerably modified Cayenne: “The suspension is simply fantastic. And the new wheels match the handling of the car much better.”
Eddie Keng from Team Porsche China has swapped sides. After piloting a Cayenne last year he now navigates Ding Luo. “The 2008 line-up is extremely strong. I’m certain there’ll be a tough fight for victory,” was his prognosis leading up to the first special stage. “Those who were up the front in 2007 want to be back up there again this year. And those who didn’t do so well last year want to improve. All participants have become more professional and have much more experience than last year.”
On 11th July, the first of 14 legs runs over 231 kilometres from Moscow to Vladimir. The rally finishes on 25th July in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar.