DOHA: Ace Qatari rally driver Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah will not be seen in action at the Silk Way Rally, a 10, 000km rally raid from Moscow to Beijing starting on July 7, after his team Overdrive Racing decided to withdraw his entry.
Overdrive’s decision came after the rule changes, in line with the new regulations for the 2018 Dakar Rally, were not implemented in time for the Russian event.
Overdrive Racing will now support a Toyota Hilux entry under the BP Yong Team banner for Yong Zhou and his experienced French navigator Pascal Maimon while a second Toyota will run under the Boundless Yong Team for the Chinese duo of Zhitao He and Kai Zhao.
The two-week long Silk Way Rally, one of the toughest tests of cross-country vehicles, has been a proving ground for Dakar contenders. But the technical regulations for this year’s edition have not been updated to correspond with those in place for the 2018 Dakar Rally, denying teams a chance to enter their car in the Silk Way as part of development programme for the next edition of Dakar.
Nasser, the defending FIA World Cup for Cross-County Rallies champion and the current leader of the series following recent back-to-back victories in Qatar and Kazakhstan, has competed in Silky way twice, with a runner-up finish in 2010 his best performance.