Two-time Dakar rally winner and ex-Formula One driver Jean-Louis Schlesser is to enter Russia’s Silk Way rally raid in July, race director Frederic Lequien said Wednesday.
The six day race will see around 100 cars and 30 trucks charge east across the Russian steppe from Moscow to the Black Sea town of Gelendzhik, crossing the foothills of the Caucasus mountains on the way.
“This year, after a break, Jean-Louis Schlesser will be with us again,” Lequien said at a news conference at RIA Novosti.
Lequien did confirm what Schlesser, who has built his own machines in the past, will drive.
This event will see the race’s strongest field since its inception in 2009, he added.
“We’ve managed to gather together a team of participants that is stronger than at any time in the history of the Silk Way rally,” Lequien said.
Teams fielding rally-modified Mini Coopers, Nissans and Toyotas will take part, as will Russia’s works Kamaz truck team, which has won the Dakar rally ten times.
The race runs from July 7 through 13.
Schlesser raced twice in Formula One in the 1980s, recording a best finish of 11th for Williams at the 1988 Italian Grand Prix, and later won the World Sportscar Championship twice for Sauber Mercedes.