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Dakar Stage Seven: Sotnikov Leads Again!

10 January 2017

Erik Khairulllin, press attaché of KAMAZ-master, reports from Uyuni (Bolivia):

- Having left the unofficial Bolivian capital, the sports crews and assistance teams went different ways. The former took a start for a special stage from La Paz to Uyuni, and the latter went to Argentina's Salta via Tupiza. The racers should have been left without the mechanics' help to rely on their own strength in case of breakdowns at the bivouac in Uyuni.

Fortunately, all KAMAZ crews didn't face technical problems. The special section the length of which had been reduced by the organizers to 161 km in La Paz the other day has been shortened by 20 kilometers more due to the rain today. Dmitry Sotnikov's crew won the second victory in his racing career at the Dakar stage. The pilot who had been driving at a steadily high speed throughout the day was helped by navigator Ruslan Akhmadeev who had timely suggested a shortcut, which helped to drive around an off-road section along a relatively even road and save time. Unfortunately, Eduard Nikolaev's and Airat Mardeev's crews stuck to roadbook directions and honestly travelled 10 kilometers on terrain covered with hillocks as prescribed. Although there was no point in doing it as there were no control points in this part of the track. Evgeny Yakovlev, navigator of Eduard Nikolaev's crew, assessed his blunder in about 8 minutes of wasted time. In fairness it must be said that the trucks which had started later simply followed the well trodden track and bypassed a difficult section thanks to the crews in front who have paved a quicker way.

The crews are close to one another after seven stages in the final table of truck standings: leading Gerard de Rooy is followed by three KAMAZ crews - Dmitry Sotnikov (+00:02:11), Eduard Nikolaev (+00:05:57), and Airat Mardeev (+00:20:12). The Dutchman is showing enviable psychological stability. Immediately after the finish, he was questioned about how he can withstand the pressure of KAMAZ, and the leader of the IVECO team answered that he felt confidence, but it was too early to relax, especially one needed to be focused on navigation problems. Mistakes come at a price here.

As for navigation, there are two popular themes with the participants at this year's Dakar. The first is the organizers' innovation, the so-called WPC-points - a way point control to reach which was a real challenge for navigators. The second theme are notorious map men - experts whose presence in the stuff isn't recognized by any team. The essence of their work is as follows: immediately after they recieve a road-book of a forthcoming stage, they begin brainstorming and trying to match the legend with the most detailed satellite maps. It is clear that the co-driver, armed with additional information, has a good sense of direction and understands the logic of the route and better solves navigation puzzles from the organizers. Modern technologies, powerful satellite navigation systems have become a real challenge to rally-raids in their classical understanding, and the discipline will have to respond to it in the near future.

Yesterday it was announced at the evening briefing that a part of the eight marathon stage will be reduced for the participants of the truck class. On the route from Uyuni to Salta, its Argentine part will be cut off, and heavy vehicles will have to pass just 174 kilometers instead of the originally planned 490 kilometers. The reason is common. It is already clear: the Dakar-2017 will be best remembered by storms.

Stage Seven T4 Scratch Ranking

Position 

Name

Country

Mark 

Time 

Variation   

1

Dmitry Sotnikov

Igor Leonov

Ruslan Akhmadeev

Russia

KAMAZ

01:41:35

00:00:00

2

Van Genugten

Van Limpt

Der Kinderen

Netherlands

IVECO

01:44:26

00:02:51

3

Villagra

Yacopini

Torlaschi

Argentina

IVECO

01:45:12

00:03:37

4

De Rooy

Torrallardona

Rodewald

Netherlands-

Spain-

Poland

IVECO

01:46:00

00:04:25

5

Sergey Vyazovich

Pavel Garanin

Andrey Zhigulin

Belarus

MAZ

01:46:57

00:05:22

6

Stacey

Van Der Vaet

Kupper

Netherlands-

Belgium

MAN

01:48:45

00:07:10

7

Eduard Nikolaev

Evgeny Yakovlev

Vladimir Rybakov   

Russia

KAMAZ

01:49:34

00:07:59

8

Ayrat Mardeev

Aydar Belyaev

Dmitry Svistunov

Russia

KAMAZ

01:49:40

00:08:05

9

Anton Shibalov

Robert Amatych

Ivan Romanov

Russia

KAMAZ

01:49:58

00:08:23

11

Kolomy

Kilian

Kilian

Czech Republic

TATRA

01:51:18

00:09:43

15

Versluis

Pronk

Klein

Netherlands

 Netherlands

 Germany

MAN

01:57:24

00:15:49

17

Loprais

Stross

Tomanek

Czech Republic

TATRA

02:02:56

00:21:21

Stage Seven T4 General Ranking

Position

Name

Country

Mark

Time

Variation

1

De Rooy

Torrallardona

Rodewald

Netherlands-

Spain-

Poland

IVECO

15:52:07

00:00:00

2

Dmitry Sotnikov

Igor Leonov

Ruslan Akhmadeev

Russia

KAMAZ

15:54:18

00:02:11

3

Eduard Nikolaev

Evgeny Yakovlev

Vladimir Rybakov  

Russia

KAMAZ

15:58:04

00:05:57

4

Ayrat Mardeev

Aydar Belyaev

Dmitry Svistunov

Russia

KAMAZ

16:12:19

00:20:12

5

Villagra

Yacopini

Torlaschi

Argentina

IVECO

16:25:49

00:33:42

7

Stacey

Van Der Vaet

Kupper

Netherlands-

Belgium

MAN

16:38:22

00:46:15

8

Anton Shibalov

Robert Amatych

Ivan Romanov

Russia

KAMAZ

16:38:44

00:46:37

9

Versluis

Pronk

Klein

Netherlands

 Netherlands

 Germany

MAN

16:48:47

00:56:40

12

Kolomy

Kilian

Kilian

Czech Republic

TATRA

17:41:35

01:49:28

13

Loprais

Stross

Tomanek

Czech Republic

TATRA

18:15:26

02:23:19

16

Sergey Vyazovich

Pavel Garanin

Andrey Zhigulin

Belarus

MAZ

19:17:41

03:25:34

20

Van Genugten

Van Limpt

Der Kinderen

Netherlands

IVECO

21:57:36

06:05:29

 

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