Nikita Mazepin set to make a return to racing

Nikita Mazepin set to make a return to racing

Nikita Mazepin will compete in the Russian Silk Way off-road rally, which is modelled just like the Dakar.

Nikita Mazepin is scheduled to make the transition from Formula One to rally raiding beginning with the Silk Way Rally on July 6–16, according to the First Place Telegram group.

Although it has not been confirmed, a source close to the race organisers claims that his participation is “near to 100 percent.” If everything goes well, he’ll likely race with Snag Racing Team in the T4 SSV category.

Following his country’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Mazepin lost his Haas F1 ride after only one season. His racing plans have been hampered by FIA sanctions until at least end of 2022.

While he could compete internationally under a neutral flag, Russian nationals have been subjected to a slew of sanctions (Mazepin and his father have both been sanctioned by the European Union), to the point where he could only race within Russia or in ally Belarus.

Mazepin had no other choice but to resort to Sergey Karyakin for a chance in the desert. Karyakin, who won the Quad category in the 2017 Dakar Rally, and Snag Racing Team have since supplied him with coaching and testing. He expressed interest in competing in the Silk Way Rally and possibly the Dakar Rally in mid-April.

Tass news agency reports that Mazepin, 23, will race in the unique ATV category.

“Mazepin plans to take part in the Silk Way rally,” a spokesman for the former Haas driver confirmed.

Last month, the Russian driver revealed that his Formula One career is “on hold” as a result of massive western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

“But I have been involved in motorsport for 18 years, and I have no intention of leaving it. I’m keeping fit and I hope to return to Formula 1,” he told the Ria Novosti news agency.

The Silk Way Rally in 2022 will run through Russian territory in Dagestan and Chechnya, covering 4,380 kilometres.

Many of the drivers on the predicted entry list are Russian and Belarusian, as well as allies Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, who are exempt from FIA disciplinary action because they did not participate in the invasion. Kazakhstan’s World Rally-Raid Championship date in April was cancelled due to the fighting.

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