Kamaz takes the Dakar!

Looking like something out of Mad Max, the victorious Kamazes that took part in this year’s Dakar Rally were perceived to embody everything that’s crazy and wonderful about the event

The Dakar Rally is perceived to be one of the motorsport world’s greatest challenges; a two-week journey to hell and back across a succession of relentless dunes and rocky outcrops. This year marked the first time the race had been held in Saudi Arabia – but conditions remained just as tough as they had been in previous versions of the event through Africa and South America.

In the highly competitive truck category, the first two places were taken by Russian brand Kamaz, the victorious Kamaz-master team vehicles driven by Andrey Karginov – who became a two-time winner of the Dakar – and Anton Shibalov, who crossed the line in second place. The win marked the 17th time a Kamaz had taken the laurels in the event.

While both the trucks took a hammering in the Dakar’s demanding dunes, their 13-cylinder, 857 kW engines never missed a beat, the vehicles heading a top six comprising a Maz driven by Siarhei Viazovich, another Kamaz-master team truck in the hands of Dmitry Sotnikov and, in fifth and sixth places, Ivecos piloted by Marton Macik and Janus van Kasteren.

Looking like something out of Mad Max, the Kamazes were perceived to embody everything that’s crazy and wonderful about the Dakar. Everything about the trucks is big. Take those huge wheels – they weigh a colossal 150 kg each, turning a task such as changing a punctured tyre into a major marathon.

Overall, the race Kamaz weighs in at 9,5 t, but, unlike a regular truck, it also boasts 50:50 weight distribution, which is perfect for handling. It is powered by a Dongfeng Cummins engine which, when pushed to its maximum, can consume up to 200 litres of fuel every 100 km. To feed the thirst, the fuel tank – situated over the rear wheels – holds 1 000 litres of diesel.

When the rally ended in Qiddiya – a city which is situated about 40 km from the capital, Riyadh, and which is destined to become the entertainment centre of Saudi Arabia – the delighted Kamaz-master team leader, Vladimir Chagin, said of the performance: “I am happy that we managed to delight our numerous fans and partners. It was a difficult victory and each member of the team did everything to achieve it.

“The Dakar in the Arabian Peninsula made everyone happy with interesting routes and a breathtaking struggle. I sincerely congratulate everyone who followed our performance and helped the team to achieve victory in this difficult race!”

Karginov said he was happy that he had managed to win. “In two weeks, we covered thousands of difficult kilometres on some of the toughest off-road routes. It was important for us to win to show the advantages of the Kamaz in a new region for the rally. I am glad that our team delighted fans in Russia and around the world.”

Shibalov described the 7 500 km route as interesting and exciting, with lots of battles. “I am very happy to have taken silver. It was a very challenging race,” he said.

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.

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