Kamaz wins Dakar Rally 2017

17
Feb
2017

Like the ear­lier edi­tion, the 2017 Dakar Rally proved to be a test of en­durance, pa­tience and, ex­pe­ri­ence.

Rus­sia’s Ed­uard Niko­laev of the Ka­maz-Master truck team claimed his sec­ond Dakar rally ti­tle on Jan­uary 14, 2017. Niko­laev com­pleted the fi­nal stage be­tween Rio Cuarto and Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina, with a 19-minute lead over his near­est ri­val to re­peat his Dakar suc­cess of 2013. Sec­ond place was taken by an­other Rus­sian Ka­maz-Master driver, Dmitry Sot­nikov, who left de­fend­ing cham­pion Ger­ard de Rooy of the Nether­lands and his Iveco in the third spot. The Rus­sians were a dom­i­nant force in the Dakar truck cat­e­gory with Ka­maz bring­ing home 14 ti­tles since 1996.

In what would be a fierce com­pe­ti­tion, Martin Kolomy of the Czech Re­pub­lic sur­prised the trucks field in the open­ing stage of 2017 Dakar rally with a first place fin­ish in ex­actly 30 min­utes. Martin Van den Brink and Ales Lo­prais were placed thirty sec­onds be­hind the leader, whilst the ti­tle holder Ger­ard de Rooy (pi­lot­ing an Iveco Dakar truck) man­aged to limit the dam­age to 42 sec­onds with his left rear wheel catch­ing fire in the last kilo­me­tre! Win­ner of the 2016 ti­tle, Ger­ard DeRooy, started first. He started ahead of the Ka­maz driven by Ai­rat Mardeev and the Iveco of Fed­erico Vil­la­gra. An an­nounce­ment by Mark Coma, Dakar Sport­ing Di­rec­tor, be­fore the start of the event, that the route of the 2017 Dakar pre­serves rally-raid tra­di­tions, held true through out the event as the truck teams fought it out. Coma men­tioned that the phys­i­cal chal­lenge will push the com­peti­tors into the world of ex­treme en­durance as they cover seven se­lec­tive sec­tions over 400 kms with one of them stretch­ing to more than 500kms. “The rally will be held over six days at more than 3,000 m above sea level. The level of dif­fi­culty will in­crease just un­til the rest day, then a sec­ond in­crease in power will be nec­es­sary, to reach one’s ideal level for the ‘Su­per Belén’. Noth­ing will be de­cided un­til the very last spe­cial stage at Río Cuarto,” he added.

After the first stage in Paraguay that com­prised of 39 km only, and against the clock, the com­peti­tors got down to grind­ing their teeth in the first big por­tion of the Dakar 2017 rally. Stage 2 marked the ar­rival of the rally into Ar­gentina. The rally, made up of bikes, quads, cars, SSVs, and not just trucks, ran over 800 km of treach­er­ous ter­rain, in­clud­ing a 275 km spe­cial in the re­gion of Chaco. In the spe­cial, it was pa­tience that counted the most as the par­tic­i­pants faced the dust. It was the kind of dust that turned into mud if it rained. The go­ing was not easy by any means. The route lead­ing to San Miguel de Tu­cuman could al­low Peter Ver­sluis, be­hind the wheel of a MAN truck, to in­crease his haul of vic­to­ries if the pro­vi­sional re­sults at CP1 were to be be­lieved. Al­ready a win­ner of four stage vic­to­ries, Peter Ver­sluis was by no means a novice. The route lead­ing to San Miguel de Tu­cuman could al­low him to in­crease his haul of vic­to­ries too. The MAN truck driver led Dmitry Sot­nikov and Ar­tur Ar­davichus after 120 km of the spe­cial. Twenty-three sec­onds ahead of Sot­nikov, Peter Ver­sluis con­tin­ued to lead the stage. Kolomy was placed sec­ond, and Martin Van den Brink was placed third – less than 40 sec­onds be­hind. The last few kilo­me­tres were de­ci­sive. Hav­ing come fourth in Stage 1, Mar­itn Van den Brink, driv­ing a Re­nault truck, moved up sev­eral gears after 200 km to lead the scene. He set the pace in Stage 2, build­ing a lead over three­minutes.

Martin Van Den Brink scored a su­perb vic­tory in Stage 2, soar­ing over the end of the spe­cial to win with a gap of two min­utes over Dmitry Sot­nikov. It was Dmitry Sot­nikov that the Dutch­man was pre­vi­ously neck-to-neck. Martin Kolomy, who fin­ished eighth on the day’s spe­cial driv­ing a Ta­tra truck, dropped down to third po­si­tion in the gen­eral stand­ings. De Rooy and Ver­sluis were nine and 18 sec­onds adrift in fourth and fifth place re­spec­tively. Siarhei Vi­a­zovich came sixth. Vil­la­gra, Hans Stacey (MAN), Ed­uard Niko­laev (Ka­maz) and Ar­tur Ar­davichius (MAN) rounded out the top 10. They were sep­a­rated by less than five min­utes. Ton van Genugten, driv­ing an Iveco truck, dropped down the order after los­ing 13 min­utes.

Ka­maz driver Ed­uard Niko­laev won Stage 3. Pre­vi­ous leader, Martin Van den Brink and reign­ing cham­pion Ger­ard de Rooy both lost time. The 2013 truck­ing cham­pion Niko­laev earned a nar­row lead over Martin Kolomy and Ton van Genugten in the first part of the stage, and main­tained it un­til the fin­ish. De­spite start­ing the day in the ninth place, the fact that Niko­laev was only one-minute and 23 sec­onds be­hind the sec­ond placed driver, helped him. It al­lowed Niko­laev to end up in that very po­si­tion in the over­all stand­ings, just half a minute adrift Kolomy. Fed­erico Vil­la­gra was best of the rest. He was now placed third over­all, be­hind Kolomy and Niko­laev. Siarhei Vi­a­zovich and Peter Ver­sluis fol­lowed the Ar­gen­tinian. While Kolomy re­ceived a penalty of three min­utes, thus los­ing the over­all first place to Niko­laev, Stage 3 caught out a cou­ple of big names, in­clud­ing Van den Brink.

In Stage 4, the com­peti­tors en­coun­tered al­ti­tude. The next few days would see com­peti­tors fight it out at an al­ti­tude of more than 3,500 m. With rapid ac­cli­ma­ti­sa­tion nec­es­sary, the driv­ers dis­played their skills at cross­ing dunes at such an al­ti­tude. The end of the route (Stage 4) in Bo­livia held many surprises. It called for good nav­i­ga­tional skills. Ai­rat Mardeev went into an at­tack mode right at the start of Stage 4. The Ka­maz driver snatched the lead right at the be­gin­ning of the stage with Ger­ard de Rooy hot on his tail. De Rooy spent the ma­jor­ity of the 416 km stage, which started in Ar­gentina but fin­ished in Bo­livia, less than a minute be­hind Ayrat Mardeev. Mardeev how­ever had to set­tle for the sec­ond place even­tu­ally, half a minute adrift of de Rooy. Close co­op­er­a­tion with Italy­ based Petronas Mo­torp­sort saw Iveco Pow­er­star trucks use spe­cial fil­ters to ne­go­ti­ate the Bo­li­vian Andes as the six­cylin­der en­gines un­leashed 900 hp of peak power. At the wheel of an Iveco truck, de Rooy led the pack in Stage 4 at an al­ti­tude of 4000 m above sea level. The Pow­er­star en­gines seemed to lose less power than oth­ers. At the end of Stage 4, Mardeev and de Rooy were 14 and 16 min­utes be­hind Sot­nikov, the Ka­maz driver jump­ing from sixth to first. Such an im­prove­ment was thanks to the five driv­ers in front los­ing time. Even Siarhei Vi­a­zovich fell more than three hours off the pace at the very be­gin­ning of the test. Ta­tra’s Martin Kolomy and Peter Ver­sluis (MAN) lost an hour and 30 min­utes re­spec­tively. Ed­uard Niko­laev and Fed­erico Vil­la­gra (Iveco) also dropped be­hind Sot­nikov. The duo how­ever com­pleted the top three with the Ar­gen­tinian less than two min­utes off the pace. So, if Sot­nikov, at the wheel of a Ka­maz truck fin­ished first at the end of Stage 4, Vil­la­gra in an Iveco came sec­ond. Niko­laev came third. An­ton Shibalov was the third Ka­maz driver to come fourth, ahead of De Rooy. Mardeev came fifth.

Stage 5 took the com­peti­tors to the high plains of the Bo­li­vian Andes. The va­ri­ety of ter­rains made this stage one of the most gru­elling. It in­cluded cross­ing two dunes. To be run in two stages, over 438 kms, Stage 5, be­cause of the ex­treme weather saw the sec­ond half be­ing can­celled. Czech driver Martin Kolomý started the stage with his foot to the floor. Snatch­ing the lead, Kolomy stayed seven sec­onds ahead of Ger­ard de Rooy. de Rooy snatched the lead from Martin and pulled away to win by nearly 12 min­utes. de Rooy be­came the fifth dif­fer­ent over­all leader in as many days, fol­low­ing Kolomy, Martin van den Brink, Ed­uard Niko­laev and Dmitry Sot­nikov. Kolomy fell to third place be­hind fel­low Ka­maz driver Niko­laev, who took the sec­ond place be­hind de Rooy. Ayrat Mardeev was the third Ka­maz in the top four, ahead of Re­nault’s Pas­cal de Baar. Sec­ond and fourth place, Fed­erico Vil­la­gra and An­ton Shibalov dropped to sixth and sev­enth place re­spec­tively, amass­ing a 50-minute deficit. Hans Stacey was the top MAN truck in the eighth place, nar­rowly edg­ing out team­mate Peter Ver­sluis. Ex­treme weather saw the can­cel­la­tion of Stage 6 from Oruro to La Paz. Per­sis­tent bad weather con­di­tions forced the race di­rec­tors to change the course of Stage 7 from La Paz to Uyuni. A new course was de­signed and a new road book was drafted dur­ing the rest day.

Scor­ing in the top ten in each of the stages since the start, Dim­itry Sot­nikov put his Ka­maz truck into over­drive to win his sec­ond stage vic­tory of his ca­reer at Dakar in the run up too. Uyuni, with a lead of two min­utes and 51 sec­onds over Iveco driver Ton Van Genugten. Sot­nikov climbed up to sec­ond place in the gen­eral stand­ings, which were still led by Ger­ard de Rooy. de Rooy did the nec­es­sary to main­tain his ad­van­tage. Stage 8 saw the Dakar leave the high plains for a spe­cial in­clud­ing off-track rac­ing, which in­volved cross­ing fords. The con­se­quences of the rain over the last few days forced the race of­fi­cials to change the route of Stage 8. With the spe­cial sec­tion cut down to 174 km, par­tic­i­pants headed to the sec­ond part of the spe­cial at the bor­der be­tween Bo­livia and Ar­gentina via a 176 km link sec­tion. The sec­ond part was un­changed. Martin Van Den Brink took a 13 sec­onds lead from ti­tle holder Ger­ard de Rooy. The Dutch­man took a 23 sec­onds lead from the sec­ond Iveco truck, driven by Fed­erico Vil­la­gra as well. Ger­ard de Rooy lost more than seven min­utes whereas his team-mate Fed­erico Vil­la­gra stayed ahead of Niko­laev by 45 sec­onds. With­stand­ing pres­sure from Fed­erico Vil­la­gra, Martin Van Den Brink won the stage, his sec­ond stage vic­tory, with a lead of 17 sec­onds. Ed­uard Niko­laev fin­ished third, 42 sec­onds be­hind the win­ner. Dmitry Sot­nikov took the lead in gen­eral stand­ings.

A mas­sive land­slide caused by thun­der­storms saw Stage 9, from Salta to Chilecito, be­ing can­celled. With the road cut off, the ve­hi­cles, com­peti­tors, as­sis­tance and lo­gis­tics were di­verted to an al­ter­na­tive route through San An­to­nio de los Co­bres, ex­tend­ing the dis­tance by about 200 km. Race car­a­van re­grouped at Chilecito. Ed­uard Niko­laev bril­liantly ne­go­ti­ated Stage 10. The Rus­sian led his two Ka­maz team-mates Dmitry Sot­nikov and Ai­rat Mardeev. Ed­uard Niko­laev picked up his sec­ond stage vic­tory with a lead of seven min­utes over his Ka­maz team-mate Dmitry Sot­nikov, cat­a­pult­ing him to the top of the gen­eral stand­ings for the first time. In Stage 11, the com­peti­tors con­fronted the dunes of San Juan. These stretched for over fifty kms. Lead­ing to the re­tire­ment of Ger­rit Van Wer­ven, this stage sprang many surprises for truck driv­ers. Ed­uard Niko­laev con­tin­ued to lead. He was the first trucker to get a grip on the day’s spe­cial. Niko­laev’s team mates, Dmitry Sot­nikov and Ai­rat Mardeev, fol­lowed him through­out the course. Niko­laev led Fed­erico Vil­la­gra by 41 sec­onds and Ai­rat Mardeev by one-minute and 18 sec­onds. Niko­laev won Stage 11 in Rio Cuarto, and was given a tough fight by Ar­gen­tinean Fed­erico Vil­la­gra who wanted to achieve a re­sult on his na­tive land. He fell short by 52 sec­onds!

The last stage of the rally, the twelfth stage, ran over 64 kms, and was de­void of any pit­falls. The com­peti­tors needed to go the dis­tance in or­der to cross the fin­ish­ing line that cul­mi­nated into a podium cer­e­mony in Buenos Aires at the end of a link stage. Un­for­tu­nate with­drawals at this stage in­cluded truck­ers Karel Tr­neny and Vic­tor Ver­stei­jen. Ed­uard Niko­laev kept the lead. He kept ahead of his team-mate Mardeev by 22 sec­onds. First to roll on to the podium in his Ka­maz truck, Ed­uard Niko­laev claimed vic­tory. Niko­laev’s team-mate Dmitry Sot­nikov was run­ner-up. De Rooy in an Iveco truck came third, and Vil­la­gra in an­other Iveco truck came fourth.

Another batch of NGVs produced by KAMAZ PTC was delivered to ALROSA’s mining and processing plants

14
Feb
2017

Another batch of NGVs produced by KAMAZ PTC (part of Rostec State Corporation) and NEFAZ PTC, a subsidiary of the auto giant in Bashkiria, was delivered to ALROSA’s mining and processing plants.

Within the next few days three KAMAZ vehicles and four NEFAZ passenger buses equipped with gas engines will start to work on production sites of Mirny and Aikhal mining and processing plants. Conversion of PJSC ALROSA’s vehicles to natural gas fuel is one of the main stages of the implementation of the ALROSA Programme of Innovation Development and Technological Modernization intended to lower operating costs and environmental pressure and improve occupational safety, according to the company’s press-service.

The purchased vehicles are efficient and environmentally friendly, as was confirmed by the customer’s tests. In particular, the analysis of the gas-powered vehicles and buses for toxicity showed that  emissions of toxic substances into the environment are significantly reduced when using gas, instead of oil fuel.

Natural gas vehicles in operation are absolutely safe. The vehicles feature special detectors of gas leakage.

Russia’s Kamaz-Master team budget grows to $10 mln in 2017

7
Feb
2017

 

The budget of Russia’s Kamaz-Master team that participates in annual Dakar rallies has increased to about $10 million in 2017, Kamaz truck producer CEO Sergei Kogogin told TASS on Jan. 4.

“We have sorted out things with the team’s budget. Kamaz has increased financing for 2017 and additional sponsors have come,” Kogogin said.

“The budget has increased compared with 2016 and become sufficient for the team’s maintenance and its development. This is about $10 million,” the Kamaz CEO said.

“Sponsors have not remained indifferent. All have come to show understanding for the current economic situation. The figures have grown a little and our sponsors are not only advertising themselves but are also showing respect for the team, its leadership, history and what has been done,” he said.

After two stages of the Dakar 2017 Rally, the Kamaz-Master crews are holding the second, ninth, 15th and 18th places.