With three days of competition complete it is Franco Caimi who sits highest in the provisional overall results with the Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team rider placed a strong seventh, just over 10 minutes down on the race leader. Despite a long and challenging return from injury in recent months, Caimi cautiously rode through the opening special stage to earn an eighth-place finish, just 50 seconds behind team-mate Van Beveren.
Entering the longer second stage still focused on a mistake free ride, the Argentinian put in a hugely impressive performance to secure a strong sixth place result, just under three minutes behind the stage winner. Another calculated ride on stage three, despite not feeling 100 per cent settled on the faster, open tracks, saw Franco ride his WR450F Rally to seventh and with it sits seventh overall, ahead of the event's longest special stage of 470km.
Joining Franco Caimi inside the top 10 of the provisional results, Adrien Van Beveren has also made a strong start to the Silk Way Rally and sits ninth overall as the event passes into Mongolia. Just 50 seconds behind the winner of the opening Russian stage from Irkutsk to Baikalsk, Van Beveren's eighth-place result on stage one was followed by a 10th place result on stage two, finishing just over six minutes from the fastest time. Enjoying the start of the event's faster and more flowing mountain tracks, on stage three Adrien finished sixth posting a time of 2:33.58. Ninth overall following three days of competition, Van Beveren sits just under 13 minutes from the motorcycle class leader.
For Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team's Xavier de Soultrait the 2019 Silk Way Rally has so far been one of mixed fortunes. Returning to competition for the first time since his strong sixth place result at the Dakar Rally, Xavier made a hugely positive start to the opening stage in Russia with the third-fastest time. Completing the short opening special stage in a time just 51 seconds from the winner, the Frenchman was then cruelly unable to finish the second stage following a number of crashes. Needing the organiser to return his bike to the end-of-day bivouac, Xavier was unable to take to the start of stage three but is hopeful of re-starting the event.
Celebrating its ninth running this year, the 2019 Silk Way Rally features a motorcycle class for the first time. Starting in Irkutsk with a start ceremony on July 6 the event began on July 7 with a short 50km special stage. With overall stage and special stage lengths increasing as the rally moves through Russia and Mongolia, special stage four - a circular stage starting and finishing in Ulaanbaatar - will be the longest at 470km. Competitors will enter China on July 13 (stage 7) with stage eight the longest of the event at 785km total distance. The final competitive and closing stage will see competitors arrive into Dunhuang on July 16.