Jan 15, 2017
Today has finished the rally Dakar-2017, which started on 2 January in the capital of Paraguay Asuncion. KAMAZ-master Team took first and second positions in the truck category. The crew Eduard Nikolaev-Evgeny Yakovlev-Vladimir Rybakov became first and the crew Dmitry Sotnikov-Ruslan Akhmadeev-Igor Leonov took the second position. Gerard De Rooy (IVECO) conquered the third position in this uneasy battle.
The way of KAMAZ-master to the top of the general standings was not simple. There was only a few-minute gap between rivals in the top-three after almost 7000 km. The race results were pretty much determined on its last stages. As trucks and pilots had almost the same level of preparation, the main factor became navigation skills. And Russian specialists were successful in it. On the 10th stage good navigation skills of the co-pilots Evgeny Yakovlev and Dmitry Sotnikov helped to increase the gap from the nearest rivals to 19 and 23 minutes respectively.
On the last stages our sportsmen could keep this lead. KAMAZ-master team became a 14-time winner on Dakar.
13 January, Rio Cuarto
Already yesterday on the bivouac in San Juan, arriving at South America Russian fans started to congratulate KAMAZ-master with their success in the race.
“It is early. You will congratulate us if we stand on the podium in Buenos Aires on 14 January”,- wisely noticed the veteran of the team Aidar Belyaev. And that is true. Dakar has always been a competition till the very last meter. Today’s special San Juan-Rio Quarto has boosted confidence, that the main trophey of the rally will go to Russia. KAMAZ-master crews successfully finished the 288-km SS. However, the first part of the SS with 50 km of dunes had raised fears. Fortunately, not a single KAMAZ crew had problems as on this section, so on the rest kilometers of the special. Eduard Nikolaev showed the best time today increasing his lead for 14 minutes of the main rival Gerard De Rooy. Only the Argentinian Federico Villagra could wedge himself during the stage in the Russian trio – Nikolaev, Mardeev Sotnikov. Villagra on his Iveco showed the second best time today, the gap with the leader Nikolaev was 52 seconds. Anton Shibalov had to stop on the track in order to help Ravil Maganov (No 378), whose gearbox broke down, and towed him to the bivouac.
Eduard Nikolaev, pilot of crew No 505
Today’s stage was divided into two special sections – 113 and 175 km long. Between them lied a very long neutralization zone (300 km), where you could think everything over and get your breath to perform well on the second part. The first part of the route looked like Astrakhan – sand tracks with hills, holes. The second part of the special raised us to the mountains with fast curvy roads. A lot of stones were on each side. It was important to avoid them. Then there were roads across grape fields. Quads detained a bit there, and last cars raised much dust. But we did it. Performed well.
Eugeny Yakovlev, co-pilot crew No505
Words of the team management help to face with psychological pressing. Vladimir Chagin finds correct words and always helps to set our mind on a stage. The whole tomorrow’s stage is ahead, and you mustn’t relax till the last kilometer.
Dmitry Sotnikov, pilot of crew No 513
Frankly speaking, may be due to recent years, as the whole current Dakar, so today’s stage, especially its first part, were underestimated. It wasn’t easier than stages last days. There were rough sand hills at the start of the first section. It was hot, both literally and figuratively, we drank much water. We cut our wheel, thought that we would keep it till the neutralization zone, but we had to stop and change it. Fortunately, Airat Mardeev was going behind. We could do it in 6 min together. So, the day was quite difficult. It seemed that everything had been settled, but the fight was still hard. Today attacks were from the Argentinean Villagra, and he is familiar with local places.
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