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 said that they had anticipated a tough special stage, so before they set off early in the morning they practised operating the winch-rope and stored all the tools they thought they might need within easy reach. The leg to Tyumen was not particularly fast but demanding. The team 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.