Haval unveils new lineup, prepares to defend China Grand Rally
GWM's Haval Off-Road racing team is gearing up to defend its 2013 victory in the arduous China Grand Rally (CGR). Nicknamed the "Oriental Dakar", the CGR spans four Chinese deserts and a distance of 7 000 km.
This year, the CGR will start at the foot of the Badaling Great Wall in Beijing, cross Beijing, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi and Gansu, and eventually reach Dunhuang, Gansu, with a total distance of nearly 7 000 kilometers and 12 stages, including special stages covering more than 2 000 kilometers. The event will also cross the Kubuqi, Badain Jaran and Tengri deserts.
To make the CGR every bit as tough as the Dakar, the two rest days that formed part of the 2013 calendar have been cancelled, meaning that the drivers will have to compete for 13 consecutive days!
During the departure ceremony on August 31, the number 102 H8 race car of the Haval championship team left the platform first, piloted by Frenchmen Christian Lavieille and Jean-Pierre Garcin. The pair finished the 2014 Dakar Rally in a strong eighth place overall.
They are joined by newcomers to the Haval team in the number 103 H8, Han Wei and Chen Feng, runners-up in the CGR 2013. This Chinese team is familiar with the stages and the competition environment and stand a good chance of winning.
Supporting the Haval H8 race machines are two T5 trucks which will provide parts and support. Haval will again also make use of non-modified working vehicles (GWM Steed 5 and Haval H9) to provide a full-process mobile logistics service.
Haval has been active in various Chinese off-road races since 2006, has successfully participated in the Dakar Rally in the past five years, and finished 6th in the overall standings, the best result of any Chinese team. In 2013, the Haval Team competed in the first CGR, won nine stages and claimed the overall title.