The Turkmen Desert Race “Amul Khazar 2018”

Today, Turkmenistan is becoming the most important transport hub of the region, becoming a major international logistics center due to the favourable geographic location and constructive foreign policy of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, which puts forth current proposals for cooperation with foreign states and takes consistent steps to implement them in practice.

For this, a transport infrastructure meeting international standards is being built, roads are being built, transnational steel highways, stations, airports are being built, modern vessels are being built, railway and road bridges are being built that connect not only the regions within the country, but also neighbouring states.

The Turkmen Desert Race “Amul Khazar 2018” is a unique sport event held within the framework of the motto “Turkmenistan – the heart of the Great Silk Road”. Participants of the rally will have a unique opportunity to drive along the ancient paths of the Great Silk Road. The time of the race is from 9 to 15 September 2018. Currently, the preparation for the forthcoming race is in full swing, work is underway to develop the race route, experts with many years of experience are involved, cultural events timed for the rally are being prepared.

The organizers of the race are making every effort to simplify the formalities of participation as much as possible, and an expanded cultural program is being prepared. The route of the race will include the unforgettable natural landscapes of Turkmenistan, including the Karakum Desert, the plains, and the mountainous terrain, with the finale on the pearl of the Caspian Sea – the tourist zone “Avaza”.

The special status of this large-scale motor sport project is attached to the fact that President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov not only put forward the idea of these competitions, but personally patronizes its implementation, from organizational issues to practical actions. The head of state himself, even as a pilot of a sports utility vehicle, tested the motor racing tracks in the Karakum Desert. This was in February of this year during the start of the mass competitions “The Great Silk Road” in Lebap province and more recently, in May, during the qualifying round of the rally “Amul-Khazar”, which was held near Ashgabat with the participation of domestic teams, and where the Turkmen leader again showed a brilliant result.

The sports part of the event will be organized by the legendary French racer Jean-Louis Schlesser, the organizer and head of the rally “Africa Eco Race”.

The start of the race will be given in the town of Amul, (Turkemenabat city), in ancient times it was one of the points of the Great Silk Road, then the route lies along the picturesque and mystical Karakum Desert. In the stands participants will be expected hospitality, unique dishes of Turkmen national cuisine, culture and much more.

In the course of the route there are parking lots on unique natural landscapes such as Darvaza (the gas crater, the flame in which does not go out for 47 years), the Turkmen Lake – a unique pond in the middle of the desert, red sands and rocks in the town of Gyzylgaya, as well as the pearl of the Caspian Sea – the National tourist zone “Avaza”.

The participation is allowed for the cars, trucks and quad bikes or ATV of SSV class. The route of more than 1500 kilometres is laid through the Karakum Desert, as well as through other picturesque places of the country. Special sections of the rally do not exceed 250 km.

Thus, the crew members will travel from the east to the west of Turkmenistan, repeating the historic route of the Great Silk Road, and like the ancient trade caravans they will cross the vast expanses of the legendary Karakum, overcome the most complicated parts of the desert, and also see other unique and unrepeatable places of the Turkmen land, having made a symbolic journey from the past to the present.

However, Karakum Desert is the heart of the project.

First of all, this greatest after Sahara desert of the world deserves to take important place in geography of the competitions of the best Dakar class rally racers.

Second, Karakum Desert hide more extreme subjects from adventure point of view – it is not such monotonic as African desert and visually gives more impressions and can surprise at any moment taking into consideration that this is living ecosystem that was not affected by anthropogenic impact. That makes the race to more interesting when people driving powerful vehicles are able to compare themselves with the greatness of nature, as they say face-to-face, and to realize how close the man is connected with it. If one treats the environment as an ally then technical perfectness will be the continuation of the emergence of the nature and civilization.

Third, Karakum Desert as the main part of Turkmen race has to attract the attention of the world community to this model sample of natural protection, which deserves the inclusion to the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List.

Turkmen Desert Race has already attracted the attention of International Automobile Federation (FIA). Jean Louis Schlesser presented the project to the FIA Commission of Rally Raids and noted good perspectives for inclusion of the project into the world status series in the future.

According to his opinion, organizers of the competitions have no doubts that the race will be as complicated as interested in the same time and undoubtedly will raise keen interest of the world sport community.

As is known, “Turkmenistan is the Heart of the Great Silk Road” is the slogan of 2018. According to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, foreign participants of the rally would be able not only to learn about the heritage of Turkmen nation but also to see new life that comes to these legendary places with fundamental social and economic changes, scientific and technical progress and industrial development of the regions of the country, which improves its role of important transport hub on the Silk Road in modern age.

Turkmenistan improves its international authority as the country that has successful experience in organization of big sport events of international level including in motorsport. This experience will enrich such significant project as Amul – Hazar 2018 rally that is realized on the Government level.

The race will give the impulse not only to the development of the motorsport in Turkmenistan but will also support the development of tourism. The Head of the State has already noted the necessity of introduction of new tourist routes along this track that include famous and less known historical and archaeological monuments of our country as well as its natural places.

If once on these places caravan trails passed, crossing the ocean of sand that stretched between the oases of flowering cities, today the first-class autobahns and modern railways lay here. All this, together with “immersing” in the landscape environment, will give tourists a unique opportunity to present both the past and the present of the Great Silk Road, which today thanks to energetic efforts and constructive international policy, active diplomacy of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov is reborn again, connecting countries and peoples.

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