An online conference dedicated to the upcoming 2022 Dakar Rally was held in Moscow. The boss and pilots of the KAMAZ-master team were present there.
The 44th Dakar will start in Ha’il on January 2 and finish in Jeddah on January 14, the rest day is scheduled for January 8 in Riyadh. Scrutineering will take place on December 30, 31 and January 1. The prologue and start podium are planned for January 1.
“Saudi Arabia is an interesting and unique country with varying terrains. Our vehicles are already in place and ready for battle, a few days ago the ferry arrived in Jeddah. In December, the team attended various workshops, mastered their technical and physical skills. Now we are all awaiting departure for Saudi Arabia on December 26th. Presenting new vehicles in the Dakar, we know what the top managers of the plant, the leaders of the republic, the country, our fans are waiting from us. We want to please all Russians with a successful performance, we will do our best for this,” said Vladimir Chagin, head of KAMAZ-master, seven-time Dakar winner, at the meeting.
The KAMAZ-master team will present four sports trucks for the race. Two of them are KAMAZ-43509 vehicles already familiar to the fans of the team and two new KAMAZ-435091 trucks of the K5 line. The crews led by the reigning Dakar champion Dmitry Sotnikov and five-time Dakar winner Eduard Nikolaev will represent Russia in the international competition on the new KAMAZ trucks of the K5 line. The crews headed by Anton Shibalov and Andrey Karginov will take part in the race on trucks of the previous year’s line. Upgraded in 2021, the traditional KAMAZ trucks are serious rivals to the sports trucks of the top foreign truck racing teams in the Dakar Rally.
“Racing on the new vehicles is a great responsibility for the whole team. The second truck of the K5 line was built just before the departure, and the first such truck successfully performed in the Silk Way Rally this summer. I think the truck was a success. We have worked a lot on many things. Dmitry Sotnikov’s crew also fine-tuned the truck greatly. There are many improvements in the new vehicle – weight distribution, steering,” said Eduard Nikolaev.
He also said that, before leaving for the Dakar, the team had undergone tests in Kazakhstan, those were four days of a full-fledged race of all crews. By that time, there was no talk of another new truck, but the team’s leaders gave all racers an opportunity to drive this truck. “Building new KAMAZ trucks, we try to make them faster. Our rivals mainly drive bonnet versions, and we know all their advantages. We don’t forget about the previous generation of trucks to be used by two crews. They also have certain improvements, including upgraded turbochargers. After studying all the data at the training camp, we made our engines more reliable,” Nikolayev emphasized.
“There are almost 60 truck racers in the 2022 Dakar. I’m glad to see Gerard de Rooy’s team is back. They missed a sports season, but were noticed on tests, they built four bonnet trucks. Unfortunately, Gerard himself will not race, but experienced and strong guys will join the team, and we didn’t expected such a membership in their team. We know how fast their trucks run, so they are decent competitors,” said Dmitry Sotnikov. “I would like to note Martin Masik’s team. He was fast in the last Dakar, he managed to win fourth position. Now he will have three crews instead of one, so Martin will fight for the first place. One of the strongest pilots is Ignacio Casale, he will definitely strive for victory. Aleš Loprais is also an experienced and stable driver. There will be many other pilots who will be able to impose the fight. And the new hybrid trucks will add extra intrigue to the race.”
Speaking about the safety of the race during the pandemic, Vladimir Chagin assured that the KAMAZ-master team paid special attention to this aspect.
“The organizers of large-scale international competitions have adapted to the coronavirus conditions, and now they conduct their events at a high level. In 2021, the so-called “bubble” was successfully introduced in the Dakar. No outsiders were allowed there. Everyone valued their health, no one wanted to leave the race. We were all vaccinated with Russian vaccines, and also with a foreign one. So our team has been vaccinated several times, and I want COVID-19 to bypass everyone,” concluded Chagin.
The crews of the KAMAZ-master team participating in the 2022 Dakar Rally:
No. 500. Driver Dmitry Sotnikov – co-driver Ruslan Akhmadeev – mechanic Ilgiz Akhmetzianov.
No. 501. Driver Anton Shibalov – co-driver Dmitrii Nikitin – mechanic Ivan Tatarinov.
No. 505. Driver Eduard Nikolaev – co-driver Evgeny Yakovlev – mechanic Vladimir Rybakov.
No. 509. Driver Andrey Karginov – co-driver Andrey Mokeev – mechanic Ivan Malkov.