On the 11th of October, Vladimir Chagin, Head of the KAMAZ-master team, announced the crews to participate in the 2018 Dakar Rally at the press conference in Naberezhnye Chelny. The meeting took place in the KAMAZ-master sports center during a usual press tour organized by the team for the Russian media.
KAMAZ-master pilots Ayrat Mardeev and Dmitry Sotnikov helped the journalists test drive the racing trucks on the track and presented the vehicles, and KAMAZ-master's leader Vladimir Chagin told about preparations for next year's first race.
The team is currently finishing preparations for the jubilee, fortieth Dakar. In almost one month the trucks are to leave for the South American race. On the 24th of November, the vehicles of the European racers will be loaded onto a ferry to be shipped across the Atlantic in order to start the race fr om Lima, the capital of Peru, on January 6 and after 9,000 km of travel finish in the argentine Cordoba.
The main news announced at the press conference in Naberezhnye Chelny is the membership of the crews, and also information that a new truck with a 13-liter engine that performed well at the Silk Way Rally will take part in the South American marathon. It should be recalled that immediately upon arrival from Dakar 2017 the team started modifying and perfecting their racing trucks. One of their main developments is a truck with a 13-litre six-cylinder in-line engine. In January 2019 KAMAZ-master will for the first time use such an engine in a cabover truck in order to comply with the Dakar regulations. The installation of such an engine entailed great changes both in truck construction, and in exterior.
The same straight-six is installed in KAMAZ-master's conventional truck, but the managers of the team considered it too risky to introduce two trucks with new motors at once, especially since the largest part of the route is to pass through the highlands of Bolivia, wh ere engines operate in a high load condition due to the shortage of oxygen.
KAMAZ-master will again send four race trucks to participate at the rally. Andrey Karginov's crew will skip the Dakar rally because he is currently recovering from a trauma. The team will miss him as an experienced racer. Karginov is considered a recognized conqueror of sand specials, and the organizers of the race promise a set of seven special stages rich in dunes.
KAMAZ-master will skip the 2018 Africa Eco Race where the team usually performed in a gas-powered sports truck. Vladimir Chagin explained that the project the team had been realizing since 2012 together with Gazprom and VTB would take on a new lease of life already in the middle of the following season. A new truck with a Liebherr engine running on a mixture of diesel fuel and gas is now being prepared for the start of the 2018 Silk Way Rally.
Vladimir Chagin, Head of the KAMAZ-master team,
"It's pleasant that for the first time in many years we will be able to celebrate the New Year Holiday at home because the Dakar 2018 starts on January 6. But the upcoming race is special. Firstly, it will be the fortieth Dakar, and secondly, next year the KAMAZ-master team will celebrate its 30th anniversary. This imposes more responsibility on us. Of course, we will fight for victory."
Eduard Nikolayev, pilot, winner of the 2017 Dakar Rally,
"I'm sure that the 40th edition of Dakar has an interesting route in store for us. I'm anticipating its Peruvian part with challenging sands and large dunes. The marathon will start with a serious struggle, without warming up, and it'll all start right with heavy special stages, off-road and off-piste. This is the special thing about the January race."
Dmitry Sotnikov, pilot, winner of the 2017 Silk Way Rally,
"The serious task that faces our crew is to test a whole range of technical modifications in our race truck. The rally starts with the heat and dunes of Peru, and continues with the highlands of Bolivia. It will be difficult both for vehicles and people."
KAMAZ-MASTER CREWS AT THE 2018 DAKAR RALLY
Pilot E. Nikolaev; navigator E. Yakovlev; mechanic V. Rybakov.
Pilot A. Mardeev; navigator A. Belyaev; mechanic D. Svistunov.
Pilot D. Sotnikov; the navigator R. Akhmadeev; mechanic I. Mustafin.
Pilot A. Shibalov; navigator D. Nikitin; mechanic I. Romanov.
Dakar 2018: Peru, Bolivia, Argentina
The tenth South American and fortieth, in general, rally-marathon will pass through the territory of three countries – Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. The rally-raid will start in Lima on January 6. After a five-year break, the Dakar returns to Peru. On the territory of this country, the participants of the race will spend five days. Then there are special sections in Bolivia with a rest day on January 12 in La Paz, and the raid will finish in Cordoba (Argentina) on January 20.
Calendar of the Race