Sea of sand on the Silk Way

It was a dune or die moment for French drivers Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret as they tackled Stage 9 of the Silk Way Rally on Monday.

They had to manoeuvre their Peugeot vehicle through 50km of sand and another 370km over rough terrain as they headed from Urumqi to Hami in China.

Their efforts paid off as they emerged victors of this leg of the challenging race.

The Silk Way Rally, which is now in its seventh edition, is an annual cross-country rally that sees drivers of cars and trucks zip through three countries along the ancient Silk Road - Russia, Kazakhstan and China.

This year's race was flagged off on July 7 from Moscow's Red Square, and is expected to end on Saturday in Xi'an, China. The two-week race has drivers from 35 countries racing 385 vehicles over nearly 10,000km of Eurasia's most diverse and rough landscapes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Sea of sand on the Silk Way'. Print Edition | Subscribe