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Russia debuts in Peking to Paris Vintage Car Rally

Nearly 100 teams from 20 countries are taking part in the Peking to Paris 2013 Classical Car Rally which starts on May 28th reports The Voice of Russia. The participants in the rally will run through 8 countries, including Russia, in one month.

The first vintage car rally took place in 1907. The next one was held 90 years later. Since then, classical car rallies have been held regularly, every three years.

Russia is taking part in the Peking to Paris Rally for the first time. The crew from the Altai Region will drive a 1979 Moskvich 412.

The car has already covered 4,000 kilometers to Beijing being the only vehicle that has reached the starting point under its own power. Other cars, produced in 1913 and 1982, were spared the risk.

Team Russia is named after Gagarin. Sergei Pospelov, chairman of the Altai Federation of Automobile Sport, comments.

"It’s Russia’s first experience of this kind over the past 100 years. For us, it’s like flying to outer space. Yuri Gagarin was the first to fly to space in 1961. Our Moskvich’s number is 61. In the same 1961 our fellow countryman Sedov flew to space. So we have a good reason to name our team after Gagarin" - says Sergei Pospelov.

Russia’s participation in the rally became possible thanks to a grant from the Altai regional administration and financial assistance from foreign sponsors.

This year, the vintage rally will pass through Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia, China, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland and France.

"The most challenging leg of the journey will be in Mongolia. The Soviet team demonstrated good performance at the London to Sidney, London to Mexico Rally in the 1960s and 70s.

We’ve picked an identical Moskvich 412 in commemoration of that successful event. Even the color matches. Thus, we pay homage to the Soviet team. The Russian crew consists of pilot Boris Lytkin, and co-driver and navigator Yevgeny Smirnov.

We’ve known each other for more than 30 years, and we’ve been in motor sport all our lives. We cherished the idea of joining the Peking to Paris Rally for several years. Now, our dreams have come true" - adds Pospelov.

The participants in the rally will cover more than 12,000 kilometers and will finish in Paris on June 29th . The Russian team will pass this route twice as they plan to drive the Moskvich back to their home city of Barnaul.

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