Giving the new truck its debut in Russia was Eduard Nikolaev: a two-time Dakar winner with Kamaz, who has finished on the podium an additional five times with the Russian marque.
“This is the new vehicle that we built last year but we saw it wasn’t ready for the Dakar Rally yet and decided against taking the risk,” Nikolaev explained. “Naturally, the first thing you notice about this truck is that it looks different. The trucks we already have are all forward control vehicles and don’t have a hood. The main thing we were after in this design was crew comfort. When the crew’s comfortable they drive faster.”
“The 2017 Dakar will be all about speed. There won’t be much cross-country driving and all our vehicles are mostly off-roaders. We had to adjust here and there, because you need a different vehicle configuration for a fast and technical rally like this. So we hope this new truck will help us a great deal.”
Rather than its usual prominent blue and white livery, the new Kamaz ran in Russia with an interim black Red Bull ‘stealth livery’.
Team leader Vladimir Chagin explained: “Throughout our history, our team has always sought to come up with the best, most reliable and competitive trucks, which meet the ever-changing requirements of this fascinating sport. We’re now at the dawn of a new era of race trucks: cab trucks demonstrate a number of technical benefits, and an important goal for us this season is to innovate as much as possible. We’ve got high hopes for our new cab truck, and the stealth Red Bull livery is a visual demonstration of just how much we’re pushing the cutting edge of technology.”
While the truck is brand new, its awesome performance is familiar. The Kamaz Master ‘Kapotnik’, as it’s called, still maintains four wheel drive while a brand new 12.5-litre diesel engine propels its to speeds in excess of 160kph, on more or less any surface.