On April 12, the Gold of Kagan traditional race in Astrakhan Oblast which is as the same time the second round of the Russian Cross-Country Rallies Championship and the first round of the Russian Cross-Country Rallies Cup in T3 and T4 categories started in Astrakhan.
The competitions will last three days: on the first day there will be a solemn opening and a prologue, during the next two days the participants are to pass long high-speed sections. The distance of the high-speed sections will be laid on the right bank of the Volga, and a bivouac is as usual set up on the waterfront near Hotel Azimut.
During the pre-start conference, Vladimir Chagin called the Gold of Kagan rally a kind of dress rehearsal of Astrakhan's section of the international 2018 Silk Way Rally (the race will pass there in July). This year, the competition is one day shorter, but at the same time the number of racing kilometers to be travelled by the crews is increased: On April 13 and 14, the pilots will pass 342 and 263 kilometers, respectively, and for three days the crews will pass more than 800 kilometers of the general route on the whole, and 613 kilometers of them will form a racing distance.
The Gold of Kagan is the first competition of the national motor racing season for trucks. The KAMAZ-master team usually takes part in these spring starts to test technical innovations after January's Dakar. But this is not just trainings and tests: the Gold of Kagan arouses interest also because racers from the Belarusian team MAZ-SPORT-avto, whose leader Siarhei Viazovich has won the silver in the truck category of the South American race this year, arrive in Astrakhan to compete for prizes too.
Four crews of KAMAZ-master participate in the Gold of Kagan rally:
300 Eduard NIKOLAEV – Evgeny YAKOVLEV – Vladimir RYBAKOV
301 Andrey KARGINOV – Andrey MOKEEV – Igor LEONOV
303 Dmitry SOTNIKOV – Dmitry NIKITIN – Ilnur MUSTAFIN
304 Anton SHIBALOV – Alexander KUPRIYANOV – Dmitry SVISTUNOV
Under the joint program with PJSC GAZPROM and VTB Bank, a new gas-diesel racing truck with a 16-litre engine was developed (previously an 18-litre engine was used in this project). It will be tested by Anton Shibalov and Sergey Kupriyanov. The brand-new gas-diesel KAMAZ has already managed to impress Astrakhan's fans with its new colouring.
Another vehicle of KAMAZ attracts experts' and viewers' attention: Eduard Nikolaev will drive a conventional truck the fans of the Blue Armada are already acquainted with. The last large competitions in which this truck participated is the 2016 Silk Way Rally. But, according to team manager Sergey Savostin, this is now an absolutely new truck in which many units and aggregates were improved: from a chassis to a new six-cylinder in-line motor upgraded by the team which is to be used in all racing trucks of Naberezhnye Chelny's team from the 2019 Dakar Rally. Such an engine is installed in Dmitry Sotnikov's truck and has already been tested during the 2017 Silk Way Rally and the 2018 Dakar Rally. Dmitry's crew will also continue developing and optimizing it during the forthcoming starts in Astrakhan.
Another happy news for KAMAZ-master is that Andrey Karginov resumes an active competition program having recovered after last year's trauma.