Key points

  • Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Giniel de Villiers and Lucio Álvarez will be the two headliners entries
    in the Dakar Series China Rally this coming September 24-30.
  • The more than 2,500km course is a mostly sandy seven-stage rally drawn aroung the immense
    sand dunes and the incredible lakes of Inner Mongolia.

With less than two weeks to go before the start of the first edition of the Dakar Series Rally China, the confrontation between the Chinese drivers and rally-raiding’s international elite is taking shape. 2009 Dakar champion, Giniel de Villiers comes in as the overwhelming favourite of the rally to be contested in the dunes of Inner Mongolia, at the wheel of his Toyota Hilux pick-up with which he has finished four-times on the podium in South America. The South African driver’s biggest rival will be his Toyota team mate, Lucio Álvarez, who
finished 5th on the 2012 Dakar and is one of the sport’s rising stars. On his path towards the 2018 Dakar, the Argentina native will face a tough test from many Chinese crews led by Yong Zhou, the most experienced among them, who finished 13th on the 2015 Dakar.
The schedule for the seven-stage rally has been revamped in order to concentrate the acing program around the most accessible and user-friendly bivouacs installed at the FB Festival and Alxa Right sites. In total, nearly 2,500km rally-route in the Tengger and Badain Jaran deserts, which are known for their mountain-sized dunes and the incongruous presence of countless lakes. At the conclusion of this week of competition, the Dakar Series China Rally and its crews will be celebrated at the 12th edition of the FB-Festival, which feature a largescale off-road happening as well as concerts, stun flying shows, MMA fights, a car show as well as a food festival. This has become a must do gathering in China, which this year starts on October 3rd and promises to be a resounding success after welcoming nearly 1 million visitors in 2016.

Giniel de Villiers: “I cannot wait to take part in the Dakar Series in China. I think that the conditions will be very similar to the Dakar and it will be a fantastic experience.”
Lucio Álvarez: “I have already driven a Toyota, but to be brought in as a factory driver is something new to me. The most important thing in preparing for the Dakar is to rack up the kilometres. It is essential as we continue the development of the Hilux before sending it to South America.”

Dakar Series China Rally

Key points

  • Open to cars, Side by Sides and trucks, registration for the first edition of the Dakar Series China Rally, scheduled for this coming September 24-30, begins today. Before the final recce programmed from June 24 to July 7, the ultra-sandy route will consist of 3,000 kilometres in Inner Mongolia.
  • A stepping-stone towards the Dakar designed to offer a midterm review to the crews attracted to the adventure, this new rally has all the ingredients to become a rally-raid benchmark event.
  • The Dakar Series China Rally, organised by FB LIFE Racing Planet and A.S.O., precedes the gigantic “Hero Festival”, event organised by Alxa bringing together more than one million outdoor motor racing enthusiasts and more than 300,000 vehicles.

It will be a big challenge for the car, side by side and truck drivers that will participate in a large-scale rally-raid, adhering to the demanding Dakar standards. The route will also have a wide-ranging character, knowing that the special stages in Inner Mongolia visited by the Dakar Series China Rally will be mostly all-new and that have never been featured in other rallies.
The route concocted by the rally’s Sporting Director and former world rally-raid champion, Tiziano Siviero puts the emphasis on crossing technics. The choice was more than anything else dictated by the nature of the terrain. “I have never seen so much sand in my life”, admits Siviero who also had a hand in the planning of the routes for the Dakar since its debut in South America. The seven days of competition represent a total distance of nearly 3,000 kilometres. The crews will discover, for example, the Badai Jaran Desert, where the crews will be navigating between dunes and lakes.

A new event was announced at the Shanghai Motor Show during a very unique Dakar Tour: the first edition of the Dakar Series China Rally will be held from September 24-30 in Inner Mongolia.Open to car crews, the rally organized by FB Life Racing Planet and A.S.O. is a stepping stone towards the Dakar for the many Chinese competitors who are getting their start in the sport.

These newcomers have someone to aspire to. In 2015, Yong Zhou finished 13th overall on the Dakar in his seventh participation. He set the bar for all other Chinese competitors to reach on the Dakar and the next generation is ready to take it to the next level.

Off-road racing interest is taking hold in China, recalled Xin Hua, the founding President of FB Life Racing Planet, the biggest motor sports enthusiast community in China, during the Shanghai Auto Show.

The drivers, who have essentially competed amongst themselves, will now take part in a world-class event. Starting this coming September, the Dakar Series China Rally that will be held in Inner Mongolia will feature the best teams from around China, with the aim of offering them an intermediate challenge capable of raising them to the level needed if they are to one day take part in the Dakar.

With Alxa serving as the start and arrival city, and during six days of competition programmed, the physical and technical aptitudes of the competitors will be to the test on dune stages in the heart of the legendary Badan Jaran and Tengger Deserts. The region will lend itself perfectly for a test rally for the drivers and teams who plan to race for the win in the 2018 Dakar, as well as for those who will take part in their maiden Dakar next January. This will be the case, for example, for the best Chinese crew, who will win free entry for the 2018 Dakar, provided they never participated in it before.

FB Life: With a community of 7.5 million active members, FB Life is an outdoor culture group as well as a media giant and E-commerce platform. Also, through FB Life Racing Planet, it offers a new international platform focusing on technology and events such as the Dakar Series China Rally and the HERO Alxa festival, bringing together nearly 2 million people.