20:00 GMT17 January 2021
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    Twenty-one trucks and 41 SUVs are preparing to start their journey from Moscow to Xian, China. The participants will hit the road Saturday after taking part in a starting ceremony on Friday that gave racing fans a chance to look at their cars and take photos with drivers.

    It will be a long and difficult journey for teams competing in the Silk Way Rally. After the first three competitive legs, they will cross Russia’s border with Kazakhstan and spend several days in the Kazakhstan steppes. The route then crosses over to China. The stretch of the route running through the Gobi Desert is expected to be one of the race’s most difficult. The final destination for the racers is the Chinese city of Xian.

    ​Before the start, all teams went through extensive administrative and technical checks held at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

    Sputnik asked team members about their expectations.

    "We expect a very interesting race" said Grigory Patskevich, deputy head of Belarus’ MAZ SportAvto team. "[W]e would like to achieve the best results for our team. Judging by the descriptions we saw, this year’s Silk Way will be one of the most difficult races, and it could be compared to the Dakar Rally when it comes to its difficulty."

    Russia’s own KAMAZ Master team is known for its 14 victories in Paris-Dakar competitions. Team members also see the Silk Way Rally as a major challenge.

    "All the leaders in the trucks category are here, so it will be a tough competition until the very last day of the rally," said KAMAZ Master navigator Aidar Belyaev.

    Following Saturday’s departure from Moscow, the teams will have to cross 9,700 kilometers of normal roads and offroad terrain. The finish is scheduled for July 22.



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    Silk Road, Gobi Desert, Russia, Silk Way Rally, Grigory Patskevich, Aidar Belyaev, Gobi desert, Kazakhstan, Moscow, Russia
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