Starting from Red Square
2012. July 07. 17:17
Balázs Szalay and László Bunkoczi, the Opel Dakar Team’s racing duo was the tenth to roll up to the start podium located on the Red Square and started the Silkway Rally’s 4000 kilometer long course.

All the goods that ends well – the proverb says, and though the Silkway Rally haven’t even started yet, Saturday ended well for Balázs Szalay and László Bunkoczi.

Especially by knowing that in the morning they were in total despair when the realized that the Opel Antara which was nicely stickered and completely prepared became stubborn and did not want to start, even though it was carrying the local journalists near Moscow yesterday. The guys pushed it, but in vain, but finally on of the Polish competitors helped with towing. And it was like magic, the engine ignited and from that on there weren’t any problems with it. The car was ready for the technical scrutineering after the administrative check (after so many races this is a routine work for the team), than they parked it on the Red Square, where early evening the start ceremony was held.

But I forgot to mention that on Friday the Hungarian teams were invited to the local Hungarian Embassy where a barbecue party was held to honor them and they could meet Hungarians who are living here, as well as the members of the Hungarian beach soccer team. The sportsmen became good friends in to time, no wonder because all of them like “great sandboxes” only one plays soccer in it and the other drives a car.

“We had a great time in the embassy, many thanks for the invitation and the local Hungarian association and the embassy. It was nice to spend an evening with Hungarians living far from home, with Hungarian hospitality. Now we are a bit excited and we are eager about the start especially about the first stage” told us Balázs Szalay before they went to the Red Square.
 88 race cars and 25 trucks lined up on Moscow’s or maybe Russia’s most famous square, where they rolled up to the two storey high start podium one by one. They could see the whole square from the top, including the many thousands of fans and could hear the Hungarians cheering, as there are Hungarians wherever they go.  

The Opel Dakar Team’s pair got out of the car and waved. Szalay was asked what position he would like to achieve and he confirmed: “We would like to finish in the top ten.” The fact that the organizers prescribed more sandy stretches for the racers may be reassuring, because Szalay just loves to compete in the desert, based on previous experiences he really “feels” the sand dunes.

The pair completed a 185 kilometer long stretch, which did not include a measured selective, only brought them closer to the Sunday start’s location, from where the real fight will begin.


Starting from Red Square
2017. July 07. 21:32
The Silk Way Rally started off from the beautiful Red Square, at the heart of Moscow. Its field, including 33 cars and 21 trucks, will arrive to the former capital of the imperial China, the three thousand years old Hsian next Saturday, after completing almost ten thousand kilometers. 

After the hardships of the past few days the Hungarian service teams and race vehicles arrived to Moscow on Thursday. They got through the mandatory technical scrutineerings on Friday morning. They could line up to the Friday night start, as if nothing had happened. As if the mishaps of the past days – being on the way for four days, losing long hours at various borders – were not even true. 

The Red Square was decorated for this special occasion. This evening everything was about the Silk Way Rally. Though it just started raining when the first race car rolled up to the start podium. Nothing could take away the fan’s excitement, because they could be part of the great celebration of a technical sport, when the seven time Dakar winner, Vladimir Chagin (who is the director of the event) started the racers, one after the other. Among the racers were Balázs Szalay and László Bunkoczi on the 10th starting place. They achieved the best international result in their career on this race in 2012. On the last stage of the race they caught up to the overall second place with a great final run.   
It might be a positive reinforcement, that they had a rainy race back then and the final stage was really muddy. 

“On one hand, it’s a pity that it is raining, because the fans get wet and it takes a bit away from the spirit of celebration, but on the other hand, it might as well favor to us, because we have great mud tires for the Mokka. The forefront of the field cannot change tires; they have to race with the same type from the beginning toll the end. Sometimes I like to race in mud, so I am really excited about tomorrow’s start. I was again very impressed by the Red Square. These buildings are simply amazing; it is a great honor that our field can start from here. We took a longer walk here in the afternoon, and we were welcomed in festive spirit at night. It is great to see that the organizer countries take this challenge very seriously.”
What did László Bunkoczi had to say about this? First of all, he installed the Rain X, which prevents the windscreen from getting misty during the stage (experience of all those years…), then he smiled a bit seeing the rain. 

“We have a nice autumn weather here” joked Bunkoczi. We came to a desert race and it is 12 Celsius degrees here and raining cats and dogs. But, we are here at the red Square. As usual, I am impressed by the sight, the square is just breath taking. It is heartwarming that we can start from here. For the fifth time.”

The Opel Dakar Team’s unit will be the tenth racing pair crossing the start line of the Silk Way Rally. Certainly, the Miklós Kovács – Péter Czeglédi – Zoltán Ács (Scania) truck trio has also started. “The crème of the world gathered together here in the truck category. It will be a great joy to race again these guys, we are in good relationship with them. I hope we can compete with them” said Miklós Kovács, with a wide smile, after one of his rivals hit his shoulder and complemented the beauty of the beaked truck. 
On Saturday the race starts with a stretch between Moscow and Cheboksary. The measured stretch will not be long (a bit more than sixty kilometers), but it will be just enough to warm up the racers. 

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