ALMATY (KAZAKHSTAN): The Automotorsport Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan is delighted to announce that Rally Kazakhstan will be the fourth or fifth round of the 2017 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies for the first time on May 20-27, 2017.
The rally will be open to FIA T1, T2, T3 and T4 classes and runs under the management of the Mobilex Sport Club. It will be based in the western city of Aktau, situated on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
The route of the new FIA World Cup event will pass through demanding desert and rocky off-road terrain in the world’s ninth largest country, sandwiched between the Russian Federation to the north, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to the south, the Caspian Sea to the west and China to the east.
The competitive route will be divided into six selective sections of around 1,800km in total. Stage one is scheduled to run for 268km and this will be followed by stages of 331km, 275km, a fourth day split into two sections of 357km and 50km and the final two days of 334km and 180km.
Aktau City is located on the Mangyshlak Peninsula, is the only major sea port in the country and has direct international flight links with several major European and central Asian cities, including Moscow, Istanbul, Baku, Kiev, Tbilisi and Yerevan.
Rally headquarters and the media centre for the country’s inaugural round of the FIA World Cup will be based at the Marriott Renaissance Aktau Hotel. The city will also play host to the start and finish ceremonies at the nearby seaside square and the overnight halt after days one, five and six of the event.
The bivouac after the second and fourth selective sections will be located at the Kenderly Caspian Sea Resort in Kenderly, a seashore located around 210km south-east of Aktau. The stages will loop around the nearby city of Zhanaozen in the Mangystau region of the country.
“This is a really great achievement for us, as organisers of Rally Kazakhstan and also for our country, to be a part of the international calendar for the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies,” said Marat Abykayev, President of the Automotorsport Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
“We have been trying to achieve this goal for several years and eventually, for the first time in the history of Kazakhstan, we have earned the right to host one of the counting rounds of this prestigious championship. I hope that with a mutual collaboration and team effort we will be able to promote positive news about Kazakhstan on a global scale and establish ourselves and our scenic and challenging special stages as popular additions to the FIA cross-country calendar.”
This year’s candidate event took place in June and was won by FIA World Cup regular Yuriy Sazonov of Kazakhstan and his Ukrainian navigator Dmitry Tsyro in a Mobilex Racing Team-run Land Rover.
The experienced former WRC co-driver and event organiser Fred Gallagher worked as Rally Director alongside the local organising committee at that candidate rally and he will continue to work in the role of Clerk of the Course for Kazakhstan’s inaugural round of the FIA World Cup.
A three-time winner of the Safari Rally and a double winner of the Ivory Coast Rally with Toyota, Gallagher has also worked as a consultant on numerous other FIA events, including WRC rallies in the UK, Corsica, Cyprus and Jordan and FIA World Cup events in Russia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar.
Recent immigration changes mean that residents of 19 countries, including citizens of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, the UAE and the United States of America, can visit Kazakhstan for up to 15 days without the need for a visa. The Kazakhstan government intends to expand this list still further next year in preparation for the country hosting the International Exhibition Astana Expo 2017 from June-September.
Rally officials have liaised closely with management at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Sealine Cross-Country Rally and the Italian Baja to ensure the smooth passage of vehicles and equipment between events in the 2017 FIA World Cup to adhere to the rigid transportation deadlines required. Detailed shipping details and precise timings are available from rallykazakhstan.com.