Alexander Zhilkin, Governor of Astrakhan Oblast, participated in an 8-km prologue opening the program of the Gold of Kagan – the second round of the Russian Cross-Country Rallies Championship – as a member of the KAMAZ-master team.
In all, 41 crews registered for racing in all categories. In the morning of April 12, they had to pass administrative and technical checks. Then, the race was officially started on Lenin Square in the center of Astrakhan, after which the participants went to the 8-km prologue on the bank of the Volga.
Eduard Nikolaev's crew scored 4th time in the general rankings (00:07:37) following only racing crews of "light" categories at the short special stage organized mainly for the audience. Siarhei Viazovich is 9th (00:07:44), Dmitry Sotnikov is 10th (00:07:49), and Andrey Karginov is 15th (00:08:03). The fans who had gathered in the spectator area warmly welcomed Alexander Zhilkin, Governor of Astrakhan Oblast, who acted as a member of Anton Shibalov's crew during the prologue. Such a replacement in the cab was assessed by the racing commissaires as an hour of penalty time (the rules are the rules), but the managers of the KAMAZ-master team and the organizers of the race did that deliberately in gratitude for Astrakhan citizens' hospitality and support of motor racing in Astrakhan Oblast.
Today and tomorrow, the participants will enter the starting line of two main special stages of the race – they will determine the fate of the 2018 Gold of Kagan.